(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "gamesTM 10"

The award-winning MULTIFORMAT games magazine of the f\ 



www.totalgames.net I 





">tation2 



•be IXbc 



PREVIEW 

ST.A.L 

The FPS genre goes nuclear 
in the battle for supremacy 



ILL REVIEWS 

FREESTYLE METALX 

[PS2/XB/GC] 

FREEDOM FIGHTERS 

[XB/GC/PS2/PC] 

COLIN MCRAE RALLY 04 

[XB/PS2] 

SOULCAUBURII 

[PS2/XB/GC] 

F-ZERO GX 

[GC] 

TIGER WOODS 
PGA TOUR 2004 

[XB/PS2/GC/GBA/PC] 

MARIO GOLF 










A FORCE TO BE 
RECKONED WITH 

ROGUE SQUADRON III: REBEL STRIKE, 
JEDI ACADEMY AND KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 

The next generation of Star Wars games 
for the Xbox, PC and GameCube 



180 



INTERGALACTIC 



PREVIEW 

MANHUNT 

The most shocking videogame ever? 



As children, most of us will have watched the Star Wars 
trilogy more times than is probably healthy. And for those 
of us who have graduated to adulthood, the legendary 
sci-fi series still holds a vice-like grip over millions. 

Back when the first trilogy was making waves in the 
cinema, videogames were still fairly basic affairs, but a trip 
to the arcade rewarded the Star l/l/arsfan with a brilliant 
arcade game that gave players the chance to re-enact the 
attack on the Death Star. Atari's shooter might have lacked 
graphical loveliness but it dripped with authenticity -so 
much so that it's still a favourite today. 

It's clear that most fans simply wish to relive the 
movies, take part in the key moments from the films or 
mooch around in an extended Star Wars universe. Luckily, 
those who know their T-65s from their T-16s have been 
offered many opportunities to do this thanks to LucasArts, 
and though not all of the games have been impressive, 
they have managed to convey the magic of George 
Lucas' vision with aplomb. 

As this issue shows, Star Wars junkies are going to be 
able to get their fix for many years to come. 



.... .ru'Y . v . 

Simon Phillips, Group Editor 




games™ 003 



P1HPFSRH 



LEU 



I 



www.totalgames.net 



10|03 



fc 



CONTENTS 



Colin McRae 
screeches back into 
our homes 



88] 


* 




i_ J 




j/&* ■ " l T?* y ^_* 



FEATURES 
34 Community 



This month, we check out the talent in 
the Czech Republic when we visit 
Illusion Softworks. 

40 Screen Play 

Why isn't gaming represented properly 
on TV? And why is it always done so 
badly whenever anyone tries? 

98 Force Feedback 

We look at the games that have 
breathed life into the Star Wars 
universe for legions of fans. 



RETRO GAMING 

Like electronic archaeologists, we delve into the 
past to uncover the treasures of Retro gaming 

This latest Retro News 132 

This Month In... 1983 133 
Why Don't They Remake. . . NIGHTS Into Dreams 134 

Look Back In Anger. . . Mortal Kombat 135 
Star Games. . . NHL in Mallrats and Chasing Amy 136 
Classic Gaming Platform. . . 

3D0 Interactive Multiplayer 138 

Six Of The Best 139 

Classic Screenshots 140 

Greatest Game Ever. . . Pong 142 

Whatever Happened To? M2 143 

Company Lookback. . . Graftgold 144 

Games That Never Quite Made It. . . D2 148 

Family Tree. . . Rhythm Action Games 150 

Games That Time Forgot. . . Oh Mummy! 1 52 

You're Bugging Me. . . Impossible games 152 

Treasure Hunter 154 

Buyers Guide 156 

GTM 157 




PREVIEWS 


Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike 


48 


Tony Hawk's Underground 


52 


Kirby's Air Ride 


54 


Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy 


56 


Manhunt 


60 


Hidden And Dangerous 2 


62 


NBA Jam 


66 


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost 


68 


Killzone 


70 


Jak II: Renegade 


72 


Pro Evolution Soccer 3 


74 


Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 


76 


Time Crisis 3 


78 


Pillage 


80 


Top Spin 


82 


NFL Street 


86 


Ninja Gaiden 


88 


Boktai 


90 


Showcase 


92 


REVIEWS 


104 


Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic 


104 


Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner 


108 


Colin McRae Rally 04 


110 


Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour 


112 


The Great Escape 


114 


Freestyle MetalX 


115 


Freedom Fighters 


116 


CT Special Forces 2: Back To Hell 


118 


Age Of Wonders 


119 


F-Zero GX 


120 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


122 


Splashdown 2: Rides Gone Wild 


123 


Soul Caliburll 


124 


Conflict: Desert Storm II 


126 


Otogi: Myth Of Demons 


127 



124 Soul Calibur II 

The ultimate weapon-based beat-'em- 
up finally arrives in PAL form - but was 
it worth the wait? 

68 S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: 
Oblivion Lost 

A survival horror FPS based in 
Chernobyl? Apparently so. 

104 Knights Of The 
Old Republic 

Now you really can 'be' a Jedi in one 
of the best licensed games we've seen. 



REGULARS 

160 Essentials 

Want to have a games collection that 
shows that you're a discerning gamer? 
Yes? Well you'd better head here. 

174 Contact 

Being able to express yourself 
separates us from the animals. 
Ranting, on the other hand, separates 
the gamers from the fanboys... 

170 Subs & Back Issues 

Missed an issue? Want to get fifty per 
cent off the cover price? Check out our 
amazing subscription offer here. 

172 Next Month 

It's beginning to warm up in time for 
the end-of-year festivities and next 
month's issue will (hopefully) look 
something like this... 



006 games™ 



m 



48 ROGUE 

SQUADRON III: 

REBEL STRIKE 

Every single stand-out moment from the 

trilogy crammed onto one GameCube title. 

Is this the definitive Star Wars game? 




«L\\ 





NEWS I INDUSTRY GOSSIP I OPINION 



CONTENTS 

FIND OUT WHERE TO GET 
THE ESSENTIAL STORIES WITH 
OUR QUICK GUIDE TO THE NEWS 



10 IMPORT 

CRACKDOWN 

Nintendo's been getting tough 
with small UK import firms, 
which isn't good news for a lot 
of businesses or gamers. 

12 LARA 
LICENCE 

Eidos has taken the lucrative 
Tomb Raider franchise away 
from Core Design. Is The 
Angel Of Darkness to blame? 

20 THE PLAYERS: 
DAVID 
HAYTER 

He's the voice of Solid Snake 
and the man who wrote the 
X-Men movie. And that's just a 
few of the strings to his bow. 

22 GROUP TEST: 
TELEVISIONS 

You can't play games without 
one, so it's worth investing in a 
quality television. We look at a 
range of models to suit every 
gamer's budget. 

26 REPORTS 

All the latest from Japan and 
the US with our regular 
correspondents, Ollie Barder 
and The Shape'. 

32 COMMUNITY: 
ILLUSION 
SOFTWORKS 

The Czech Republic might 
seem an unlikely base for a 
successful development house, 
but Illusion Softworks 
is proving otherwise. 

008 games™ 



L 



! , 



! tiAt&M 






^fc** ] 


^^^^^^^1 


1 


JtwiSRi 




i 1 


■MmEl 



H 




NINTENDO 
CLEANS UP 

LINK AND CO RULE THE FIRST 
ANNUAL GAMES™ AWARDS SHOW 



NEWS I RELEASE DATES I IMPORTING 




For one night only, Bournemouth's 
K Bar became the setting for our 
first annual awards, as voted for 
by games™ readers. The 1 1 categories 
included Best Visuals, Best Developer 
and the coveted Game of the Year, with 
nominees ranging from the likes of 
Konami to Panzer Dragoon Orta. 

The biggest surprise of the evening 
was Nintendo taking home what 
seemed like half of the awards. "That 
was one hell of a night," said Andrew 
Muir of Nintendo's PR company, Cake. 
"My thanks to games™ for being such 
great hosts and showering us with all 
those Nintendo awards, of which we 
are exceptionally proud. My 
condolences to anyone who saw me 
on the dance floor." 

Although Nintendo picked up the 
majority of the awards including Game 
Of The Year (Wind Waker), Best Visuals 
(Wind Waker again), Best Developer 
and Best Comeback (Metroid Prime), 
the likes of Wanadoo, Eidos, Capcom 
and Acclaim all managed to garner 
large selections of your votes. "I 
thought it was an awesome evening," 
enthused Capcom's PR, Sam Brace. 
"Plus it was extra nice because we won 
something and that always makes for a 
fantastic night." 

Along with the 1 1 awards voted for 
by the readers, a special award was 
given out to the publisher that we 
thought had developed the most over 
the past year in terms of its relationship 
with the magazine. Take 2 Interactive 
won this category, with its award 
collected by Cat Channon. "I have to 
say I thoroughly enjoyed the evening 
and was thrilled to have received the 
games™ special award," she said. 

The first games™ awards night was 
a fantastic event, which was only 
outshone by the quality nominations 
across the board. The magazine's 
managing editor, Nick Roberts, was 
also delighted by the success of the 
evening. "I've been really pleased with 
the positive response we've had to the 
first games™ awards, both from 
readers and the industry. The night 
went really well, and all those who took 
away an award seemed very pleased. 
I'm looking forward to seeing our 
awards in software company reception 
areas around the country." 



Wanadoo's Stuart Chiplin 






Cake Media's Andrew Muir 




The EA marketing team 



THE WINNERS IN FULL 

While we'd like to have given every nominee an 
award, there can be only one winner in each 
category. And here they are. 



GAME OF THE YEAR 

n THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER 
Link's new look might have initially upset people, 
but that hasn't stopped you from voting it game 
of the year. 

MOST UNDERRATED TITLE 

□ PROJECT ZERO 

It seems like hardly an issue goes by when we're 
not praising this underrated gem, We're delighted 
everyone feels the same way. 

BESTMULTIPLAYER 

n TIMESPLITTERS 2 

A tough category, but Eidos' superb TlmeSplitters 2 

managed to secure the most votes. 

BEST USE OF A LICENCE 

n TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 4 

Rather than cashing in on Mr Hawk's reputation, 

THPS4 is a great game in its own right. 

BEST VISUALS 

n THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER 
Link wins again; yet more proof that Miyamoto- 
san knows exactly what we want. 

BEST USE OF SOUND 

□ BURNOUT 2 

Although up against some stiff competition. 
Acclaim's Burnout 2 roared its way to success. 

BEST COMEBACK 

METROID PRIME 
Despite an eight-year absence, Samus Aran 
ensured that her return in Metroid Prime would 
be one to remember. 

BEST PERIPHERAL 

STEEL BATTALION CONTROLLER 
Wildly expensive, but very special to boot. But 
how many of you simply voted for it just because 
it looks cool? 

BEST HARDWARE 
INNOVATION 

XBOX LIVE 
Another tough category, but the chance of 
playing the likes of Unreal Championship and 
Phantasy Star Online was more than enough to 
sway the votes. 

BEST DEVELOPER 

NINTENDO 
The GameCube may not have set the world on 
fire, but when it comes to making fantastic 
games, Nintendo takes some beating. 

BEST PUBLISHER 

D ELECTRONIC ARTS 

In amongst the countless FIFA and James Bond 
licences, Electronic Arts has been knocking out a 
fair amount of quality software. Let's hope this 
focus on excellent games continues. 

games™ 009 




NEWS I IMPORTING I SEGA STUDIOS 



3r 




BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND THE 
WORLD OF GAMING 



MAX WHO? 

Darryl Peterson has become the 
latest z-list celebrity to accuse 
the videogames industry of 
stealing his identity. Peterson, 
best known as WCW wrestler 
Maxx Payne (tag-team partner 
of Cactus Jack), has allegedly 
built his life around his 
wrestling persona. "I left 
wrestling to come home to 
Utah and be with my family," 
explains the disgruntled 
Peterson. "I now find myself in 
the biggest battle of my life - to 
save my identity. They stole 
something from me that I'm 
not going to give up." Max 
Payne publisher Rockstar has 
refused to comment. 



1M v j 




iS^i 


W jl 


¥ lit Je 


J 


T • 




THE REAL SNAKE 
HITS CONSOLES 

Cult film character Snake 
Plissken is to appear in a new 
Namco title. Actor Kurt Russell 
and director John Carpenter 
will be working closely with 
Namco to ensure that Snake's 
first game will be every bit as 
good as his first film, Escape 
From New York. It's not 
been revealed what 
genre the new title 
will fall into, but it 
has been confirmed 
it will involve Plissken 
battling through a 
post-apocalyptic universe. 



WE'RE BIGGER 
THAN YOU 

INDEPENDENT RETAILERS CONTINUE TO SUFFER AS 
NINTENDO TIGHTENS ITS GRIP ON IMPORTERS 




I opular independent retailer Another 
World has become the latest company 
to suffer under Nintendo's strict anti- 
import campaign. Visiting Another 
World's website now shows only 
static images where its American 
and Japanese Nintendo titles 
once used to be. 

Unfortunately, because 
of legal reasons, 
Another World was 
unable to discuss 
the ban. 

While many firms 
are in a similar situation, 
Shaun Johnson of 
Gamesimporter.com is one 
importer who's not afraid to 
speak his mind. "I look at 
Nintendo as a bullying and 
arrogant company, what they 
are doing is criminal and illegal 



in my eyes," he says. "Dictating is not the 
way forward and neither is persecuting the 
very companies and people that have 
made Nintendo what it is today. The only 
thing thafs hurting Nintendo's sales are its 
own faults, with delays and lack of equal 
support across regions being its main 
problems. If they do not want to address 
these problems, then that's their 
prerogative, not mine, and until they do, I 
will keep using my right as a consumer and 
my own freedom of choice to get the items 
I want at reasonable times and prices." 
Although Nintendo has been looking 
into its import problem for some time, it's 
only recent releases like Pokemon Ruby 
and Sapphire and Advance Wars 2 (both 
Game Boy Advance games) that have 
managed to come under this close scrutiny. 
One importer (who, for legal reasons, 
cannot be named) is insistent that it's only 
Pokemon's popularity that has caused the 



'I LOOK AT NINTENDO 
AS A BULLYING AND 
ARROGANT 
COMPANY. WHAT 
THEY ARE DOING IS 
CRIMINAL AND 
ILLEGAL IN MY EYES" 




NEWS I LARA LEAVES I ACCLAIM 




Here's a selection of the 
great games that 
European gamers are 
currently missing out on 

Advance Wars 2 

We demanded that you 
imported this game as 
soon as possible when 
we first reviewed 
Intelligent Systems' 
great sequel in issue 8. 
Regardless of Nintendo's 

l current stance, that 

1 demand still 
stands today. 



* - 




ii*lit*i* MPffii 

h ■4iH *P H*#f I 



recent interest. "Nintendo didn't bat 
an eyelid when we were selling the 
likes of Metroid Prime or Wind 
Waker," explains the businessman. 
"Then all of a sudden, when Pokemon 
sells phenomenally in Japan, it brings 
this ban in." 

One reason why people import is 
because of the long delays between a 
PAL and NTSC release. We've been 
enjoying the Japanese versions of 
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire since 
last November, and the US game 
since March. European gamers have 
only been able to sample the delights 
of the latest Pokemon titles since 25 
July - a full eight months after it was 
first released. Granted, Nintendo has 
to convert the European version into 
many languages, but should loyal 
gamers have to wait so long to play a 
game? We don't think so. 

If Nintendo is so insistent on 
stopping importing, we think it would 
make more sense for it to go after the 
bigger American and Japanese 
importers - after all, this is where the 
majority of stock is being sold. 
Another way would be to make the 
Game Boy Advance unable to play 



import games (like so many home 
consoles do). However, many 
independent importers feel that the 
main reason Nintendo is staying away 
from the big guns is because it knows 
that if a court case ever arose it would 
face much stiffer resistance. 
Considering the likes of Datel actually 
make a device - the FreeLoader - to 
encourage gamers to import (along 
with Internet importers who provide 
Japanese switched machines) and are 
not facing similar problems, this may 
well be the case. Unfortunately, 
however, Nintendo's spokesperson 
has been unavailable for comment, so 
we can only speculate as to what its 
actual reasons are. 

Another important aspect of import 
games is the early buzz that new 
import titles can create. Go to the likes 
of www.ntsc-uk.com and you'll see 
how they spread the word about new 
import releases. We're all major import 
gamers ourselves and we'll continue 
to let you know which games are 
worth importing. It will be a sad day 
indeed if Nintendo does eventually 
manage to stop import gaming once 
and for all. 



Animal Crossing 

Nintendo's popular 
collect-'em-up was a 
huge success, with 
many importers selling 
large amounts of the 
quirky title. Seeing that 
the game has never 
been released in the UK, 
the argument that 
Nintendo usually uses 
about import games 
harming UK sales is 
somewhat redundant. 



* V 



F-Zero GX 

Quite simply one of the 
fastest and best futuristic 
racers around, SEGA's 
Amusement Vision has 
created a perfect arcade 
conversion. There are 
extra tracks, a story 
mode and many more 
features for budding 
racers to try out - you 
even get an Arcade card 
to link with F-ZeroAX. 




Viewtiful Joe 

Capcom's glorious 
beat-'em-up has been 
wowing hard-core 
gamers with its frantic 
pace, in-depth combo 
system and stunning 
visuals. All in all, yet 
another essential 
import purchase. 



SONIC 
SHUFFLE 

SEGA FINALLY ANNOUNCES 
ITS SEVEN NEW STUDIOS 

Following on from re-entering the European 
market as publishers, SEGA has now 
revealed its new studios and the markets on 
which each will focus. Sonic Team consists of 
Sonic Team and United Game Artists and will 
create games for 'casual' users. SEGA AM2 
remains untouched and will develop games 
targeted at SEGA's core fan base, and the 
tentatively named Wow Works is made up of 
Overworks and WOW Entertainment and will be 
working on games for next-generation machines 
that are suitable for all audiences. 

Smilebit and Amusement Vision retain their 
titles but have had a reshuffle between the two 
teams. As a result Smilebit will now focus on the 
development of future sports titles, while 
Amusement Vision will concentrate on titles 
involving movies. The final two studios will be 
Hitmaker (consisting of Hitmaker and SEGA 
Rosso) and Cinematic Online Games (Yu Suzuki's 
new studio, which will concentrate on 
blockbuster titles). 

"SEGA's studio reorganisation is designed to 
streamline the development process of our 
games divisions, but also to allow us to expand 
our portfolio of games," said Asam Ahmad, 
head of PR at SEGA Europe. "The merging of 
certain studios will allow greater focus in 
certain areas and the creation of Yu Suzuki's 
new studio will allow SEGA to look at new 
ideas and concepts to broaden SEGA's 
entertainment profile." 

With many console-specific teams now being 
grouped together, we're fully expecting to see 
many more games appearing across multiple 
platforms. Just imagine playing Super Monkey 
Ball 3 online via your PS2 or Xbox, or finally 
being able to play Initial D or the fantastic Virtua 
Fighter 4 Evolution on something other than a 
PS2. There are some exciting times ahead... 

games™ Oil 




NEWS I LARA LEAVES I ACCLAIM 



3r 




BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM AROUND 
THE WORLD OF GAMING 



BARGAIN AHOY 

Keen to get the dollars rolling 
in well before Rogue Squadron 
III: Rebel Strike gets anywhere 
near the shelves, LucasArts is 
tempting US Cube owners to 
part with their readies early by 
offering a special bonus disc 
with all pre-orders. Not only 
will this disc tease players with 
the Hoth level demo, but it 
also includes a complete 
GameCube port of the 
timeless 1983 Star Wars 
arcade game. We can only 
hope that LucasArts will offer 
the same incentive to UK 
gamers, as we'd jump at the 
chance to get our hands on 
Atari's retro masterpiece as 
part of the deal. 




□ 



THE NEXT 
CONSOLE WILL 
BE OUT IN... 

Heavyweight developers like 
EA are set to receive the first 
clues as to when the next breed 
of consoles may be released. 
"We will know when we begin 
to get first-generation 
development systems, because 
typically we get our hands on 
those about two years before 
launch," predicts EA chief 
executive Larry Probst, who 
expects to begin work on titles 
for the new hardware within 
the next six months. It's likely 
that the first machine seen by 
developers could be favourite in 
the next console war. 



Can Crystal Dynamics 
turn Tomb Raider around? 



J ■ 




012 games™ 



IV ^ 


A 


f . 

A 



\ 






I 



t 

■ 


\vm 


I 












B 


Af^C* 


AGS 



EIDOS TAKES TOMB RAIDER AWAY FROM CORE AND 
HANDS THE FRANCHISE OVER TO CRYSTAL DYNAMICS 



Core Design - the creator of Lara Croft - 
has lost its precious licence to another 
developer. American-based Crystal Dynamics 
will be developing future instalments of the 
Tomb Raider franchise, as Angel Of Darkness 
is the first part of a proposed trilogy. An 
official statement from Eidos offers little 
comfort for Core's future with the company: 
"We will now be evaluating Core Design 
studio's ongoing direction and contribution as 
part of the group's overall development 
capabilities". With Core Design's recent non- 
Lara products failing to perform at retail, we 
feel that there could be some difficult times 
ahead for the Derby-based studio. 

Problems arose when the highly 
anticipated Angel Of Darkness launched nine 
months after its original release date. 
Troubles continued when the game received 
mixed reviews, and this was quickly followed 
by the furore caused within the industry 
when GAME decided to sell the title several 
days before its official launch date. 

Once Angel Of Darkness was released, 
Core's woes began in earnest. Jeremy Heath- 
Smith, Eidos' development director and Core 
Design's managing director, announced that 
he would be resigning from the boards of 



both companies with immediate effect. While 
no reason has been given, we suspect the 
fact that Angel Of Darkness missed the end of 
Eidos' financial year could be a critical factor 
behind his decision. Movie company 
Paramount is also blaming Core's tardiness 
for the fact that its latest film, Tomb Raider: 
The Cradle Of Life, has been a flop 

Eidos' decision to hand the Tomb Raider 
licence over to Crystal Dynamics (creator of 
the Legacy OfKain series) is a brave move 
and one that is gaining praise throughout the 
industry. "Whilst Core certainly did an 
excellent job creating such a global 
phenomenon, the secret of any ongoing 
success is always continued reinvention," 
says Doug Bone of Andromeda 
Entertainment Ltd. "Despite being a 
technically sound development team, Crystal 
Dynamics has never really had a franchise on 
the scale of Tomb Raider, so this is a shrewd 
move. I fully expect Miss Croft's next 
adventure to look, sound and play better than 
ever and hopefully re-enthuse the fan-base 
that has been let down by what is the most 
disappointing game of the year so far." 

It's unclear how Core itself feels about 
recent events, as it has refused to comment. 



NEWS INVESTIGATION EYETOY 



M 



OUT OF THE 
FRYING PAN. . . 

ACCLAIM'S TROUBLES DEEPEN, BUT IT 
STILL TAKES BAM! UNDER ITS WING 

Acclaim faces further problems following the news that 
it has six months to ensure that its share price attains 
the $1 (60p) minimum price that will enable it to stay afloat. 

This period is an official extension granted by NASDAQ to 
allow the company to raise funds. This is serious news for 
Acclaim as despite recently raising $13 million (£8 million), it 
seems that it has a long way to go if it wants to avoid the 
same fate as Rage and Crawfish. 

In a bid to increase its poor performance, Acclaim has 
joined forces with BAM! Entertainment, itself a company with 
major financial troubles. The new deal will see 
Acclaim publishing several BAM! 
games in Europe, including 
Wallace & Gromit: Project Zoo 
and Dexters Laboratory. 
"We are pleased to have 
' entered into this agreement 
with BAM!," said Acclaim CEO 
Rod Cousens. "Its line-up will enhance 
our growth in the international territories 
where the first release, Wallace & Gromit, is 
one of this year's most anticipated titles." 

This venture may not be a wise move by 
Acclaim, but we can't wait to see the cheese- 
related promotions for Wallace & Gromit. 



POINTLESS CONSOLE 
ACCESSORIES 



* 



No.5SEGADREAMCASTVMU 



A great idea that totally went to waste 



No.4 NINTENDO'S R.O.B. 



One robot, two games - virtually no fun 



No.3 SEGA MEGA 32X 



When you can't be arsed with a whole 
new console 



* 




. ■■ 








?*l 






MORE 
CASUALTIES 

TWO MORE COMPANIES DEPART 
THE SOFTWARE INDUSTRY 

As a worrying trend continues, yet more software 
developers have had to quit the industry. 

Cheadle-based Creative Asylum and Croyden's 
HotGen have become the latest firms to call it a day. 

Creative Asylum had been behind such titles as 
Rally Championship and Rally Xtreme for the PC and 
it seems that its current problems are to do with the 
cancellation of its Battlebots title for the PS2 and 
GameCube. "We're very sad to see the end of 
something which we have all put a great deal of our 
lives into," said Gary Switzer, Creative Asylum's 
director. "We've greatly enjoyed the past five years 
working together as a team, and are extremely proud 
of the contribution we have made in our own small 
way to the gaming world." 

HotGen also appears to be getting ready to close its 
doors and, with the exception of one development 
team (currently finishing off an unnamed GBA title), is 
getting ready to begin liquidation procedures. HotGen 
formed in 1988 and released games such as Batman: 
Dark Tomorrow, Jedi Power Battles and Eggo Mania. 

These closures are becoming too much of a regular 
occurrence, but let's hope the lucrative Christmas 
market can turn some fortunes around. 



Can a plasticine dog save I 
the day for Acclaim? 



No.2 ATARI JAGUAR CD 



Why release an add-on for a console 
no-one bought? 



A * 

^ /* 



No.1 NINTENDO POWER GLOVE 



The most useless peripheral ever. EVER 



games™ 013 



NEWS I INVESTIGATION I EYETOY 



Sr 




BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM 
AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING 



WOULD YOU BUY 
IT FOR A DOLLAR? 

Now that 3DO is finally no more, 
numerous publishers are already 
chasing after some of the ill- 
fated company's more popular 
franchises. Ubi Soft is after the 
assets for Heroes Of Might & 
Magic, whilst the likes of Namco 
Hometek and JoWood are after 
SRS Street Racing. The most 
bizarre news, however, is that 
Eidos is after the dreaded Army 
Man franchise. We're not sure if 
this is to draw flack away from 
the ongoing poor quality of the 
Tomb Raider franchise, or if 
Eidos will be giving the series to 
Core Design as punishment for 
The Angel Of Darkness. 



I^KiBr 


ii'-ij-lki Jffl 


|J -Hi 

U f'J 1' 



SEC LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION 
INTO CHANNEL STUFFING 

THE GAME'S 
FINALLY UP? 



MICROSOFT 
GOES IT ALONE 

It may have kept a low profile at 
this year's Electronic Consumer 
Trade Show (ECTS) but the 
yearly XO show will ensure that 
Microsoft remains on everyone's 
lips throughout September. 
Taking place between 16-17 
September, X03 will be held in 
the south of France and should 
give Microsoft a chance to reveal 
upcoming software and 
hardware. Knowing how much it 
likes to spring surprises, we're 
expecting to possibly see early 
details of Xbox 2 and (fingers 
crossed) at least video footage of 
Perfect Dark Zero. Failing that, 
we'd be happy playing Halo 2, 
Grabbed By The Ghoulies and 
Project Gotham Racing 2. 




After Nintendo got stung to the tune of 
£91 million for using channel stuffing 
techniques in an attempt to increase sales, 
you would have thought that the games 
industry would have learnt its lesson. 

Now though, Acclaim, Activision and THQ 
are all currently being investigated by the 
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 
over claims that they have continued to ship 
games to stores even though the demand isn't 
there. It's important to note that all companies 
concerned are currently merely 'helping out 
with enquiries' at this time, 
and are only being asked to 
supply any information 
"directly related to accounts 
and accounting practices". 
It's quite possible that the 
SEC's current interest in the 
industry has arisen from its 
recent investigation into 
Take 2. Nearly two year's 
worth of Take 2's financial 
figures were handed over to 
the Commission after an 
investigation was launched 
nvolving rumoured 
channel stuffing by the 
publisher and developer. 
Channel stuffing is the 
practice of offering 



dealers and distributors special incentives in 
an attempt to boost sales at the end of a fiscal 
year, only to then have the products returned 
at a later date. 

Unsurprisingly, none of the companies 
involved would state what the SEC are 
actually investigating and could only offer us 
a "no comment", but it is expected that none 
will be facing any fines. It seems more likely 
that the SEC will instead use this opportunity 
to force publishers to base sales figures on 
the actual number of units sold, rather than 
on the number of games that have been 
simply shipped to stores. It's also important to 
remember that it is not only publishers that 
may come under the ongoing investigation. 

The Nintendo case involved several high 
street stores, including Bergsala AB and John 
Menzies pic (the latter faced a £4.5 million 
fine) so it would not be unreasonable for the 
SEC to approach this current problem from all 
possible angles. Nintendo's fine was the 
fourth largest ever to be handed out to a 
single company and became headline news 
when it was announced late last year. 

With continued rumours that this is simply 
the beginning of an even wider probe into the 
whole software industry, we're sure it could 
be some time before the SEC reveals its 
results. But we'll let you know what, if 
anything, it manages to unearth. 



» NEWS I XBOX LIVE I SALES FIGURES 




Sony's new peripheral has 
exceeded expectations and 
become a huge success throughout 

the UK. Thanks to some extensive 
marketing by Sony that has seen the 
EyeToy appearing on the likes of Big 
Brother 4 as well as in numerous retail 
stores, EyeToy: Play has firmly 
ingrained itself in the public's 
consciousness, even managing to take 
the number one spot away from Eidos' 
Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness. 
"For EyeToy to top the charts 
against stiff competition from the likes 
of Ms Croft and The Matrix is great," 
said David Wilson, head of PR for 
SCEUK. "I had faith from the start that 



this was a brilliant and original piece of 
kit but it's really good to see that 
consumers seem to agree. I think 
EyeToy offers some amazing 
possibilities for the future." 

A second EyeToy product is currently 
in development and is expected to be 
released in November, with David 
Wilson confident that the gadget will 
"become a major part of PlayStation 
gaming in future." 

The Eyetoy technology is still in its 
infancy, and although budding skaters 
will no longer be able to use the 
peripheral in Tony Hawks Underground, 
we're sure it won't be long before 
starring in games is second nature. 



WHAT'S ALL 
THIS THEN? 

NINTENDO HANDS OUT ANOTHER LICENCE AND 
ANNOUNCES A MYSTERIOUS NEW PRODUCT 




More Wario Ware. Woo! 



Nintendo seems to be unloading 
licences like there's no tomorrow. 
It now appears that Namco has been 
given the Donkey Kong licence and is 
currently hard at work on Donkey 
Kongo, a drum-based rhythm action 
title. While little is currently known 
about the new game, we're expecting 
it to be based on Namco's popular 
Taikou No Tetsujin (a title which has 
already sold nearly 700,000 units in 
Japan) and to appear on the 
GameCube as well as in selected 
arcades. Nintendo is handing out its 
franchises at an alarming rate, and 
whilst every product has been of a very 
high standard, we do wonder if the 
company is starting to run out of ideas. 



Although a new Wario Ware game 
and Zelda title have been 
announced, we're more 
interested in Nintendo's 
mysterious new product that ^j 
will be unveiled early next 
year. With the PSP's ^ 

arrival drawing ever 
closer, we're expecting it 
to be a new handheld to (f^ 
counteract Sony's 
incoming machine (a 
successor to the GameCube 
seems highly unlikely). If the 
new product is indeed a 
vastly improved GBA and it's 
unveiled at ECTS, the coming 
year could prove very interesting. 



tfl 




GAMES 
ROOM 

101 

THE NEGATIVE 
SIDE OF 
VIDEOGAMING 



NO.10: LOOKING GOOD AND 
KNOWING IT 



If you saw issue 6, you'll have seen us venting 
our spleens about the state of videogames 
advertising and how ifs mainly focused on 
making games look good, rather than showing 
how they play. Unfortunately, we've started to 
notice the same trend in what we're able to 
show in the mag as well. 

Wherever possible, the screenshots you'll see 
in games™ will be taken by our own fair hands 
but, sadly, this isn't always the case. Sometimes 
we end up having to rely on press shots sent by 
the publisher and, occasionally, that's where the 
problems begin; mainly because instead of shots 
that look like the code, they often end up being 
high-res poses in a 'not actual footage' stylee. 
Needless to say, some companies are more 
guilty of this than others. 

But hey, here's a good idea for all you 
developers - instead of offering obviously posed 
renders that make your game look pretty, why not 
show us what it'll look like when we're playing it? 
That way, maybe we (as people who fork out cash 
for our games) can decide whether it'll be 
something we'll like. It's so blindingly obvious, we 
can't think why it hasn't been done before. . . 







/ 1 


1 







Sony's been using these Ghosthunter'screens', but if 
those are real PS2 shots, then we're a monkey's uncles. 



We can assure you won't see anything like 
this pose in FIFA 2004. So why bother showing it? 



games™ 015 



NEWS I XBOX LIVE I SALES FIGURES 



NEWS I GAME GRANTS I GAME VOUCHER 



3r 




BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM 
AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING 



EC TO 

CHALLENGE 
GAMING BAN 

Greece is finally being 
confronted over its highly 
controversial gaming ban. 
Although the law was initially 
expected to only concern 
gambling-related games, it's 
since been revealed that it 
covers all forms of videogame 
entertainment - even those 
enjoyed in the privacy of 
Greek gamers' homes. The 
European Commission has at 
last decided to challenge the 
ban on the grounds that the 
new law was not fully 
explained in its draft stage 
and that it also jeopardises the 
EC's treaty on the free 
movement of goods and 
services within the EU. 



; 



I 



I I 

ST AS 



KOTORhas been a 
runaway success. 




7)gtt$,\ 



s 


■ ■ r n 


titan 


H 


"vSJ 


_^ 








h 


^£r . 


* '9 













...but F-Zero GXis 
struggling in Japan. 



SELL, SELL, SELL... 

MICROSOFT AND NINTENDO'S LATEST BIG GAMES HAVE 
BEEN RELEASED, BUT THE FIGURES ARE RATHER ODD 



f 





Somehow, 
Kirby's Air Ride 
has far 
outsold F-Zero. 



Z\%i 



uly saw arguably two of the biggest 
game releases of this year in America and 
Japan, though the sales figures have raised a 
few eyebrows. Bioware's impressive Star 
Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic has been 
occupying Xbox owners in America, while 
Japanese gamers have witnessed the fast 
and frantic gameplay of F-Zero GX. 
± Knights Of The Old Republic 
- v has been a phenomenal 
J .\ success throughout the US 
\ and has set a new record for 
^ Xbox sales - within the 
space of just four days, it 
shifted over 250,000 
j copies. There's no 
doubt that the pairing 
of one of the world's 



* 



best RPG developers with one of the most 
popular franchises will ensure that Knights 
could well be the Xbox's system seller until 
the release of Halo 2 in 2004. 

Unfortunately, F-Zero GX, while an 
exceptional game in its own right, has not 
achieved anywhere near the same amount of 
success. Though the franchise has never been 
one of Nintendo's strongest, even we were 
surprised when it only managed to achieve 
fourth place in the Dengeki chart, with just 
46,515 units sold. This is particuarly galling 
when you realise that Kirby's Air Ride has 
sold 172,774 units over a three-week period. 

Let's just hope that American and 
European gamers give this title the attention 
it deserves and maybe it can hang on in the 
top ten for a little longer. 



XBOX LIVE: THE 
NEXT CHAPTER 

LIVE DUE FOR ITS FIRST MAJOR UPDATE 



Meanin9leS s waffle from the industry 



THIS MONTH - Hkka Raiskinen. head of Nokias _ 



A 



"Its for ten-year 
-olus-ifYOu're20or25,rt's 
probably not a good idea to 
nullaGameBoyoutofyour 
Jocket on a Friday night in^ 
public place 



games™ says: Talk 
about alienating your 
^ entire market- why not 
I say anyone with a 
Game Boy is a loser as 
well? That'll really help 
sales of the N-Gage... 



016 games™ 



Fans of Xbox Live will be pleased to 
hear that Microsoft's new online 
service should become available from 
mid-September. Xbox Live Now will 
include several enhancements such 
as the ability to chat to friends from the 
Xbox dashboard and an improved 
friends list, making it easier to start 
up online games. One of the most 
exciting aspects, however, will be 
the integration of Microsoft's new 
sports service. 

"XSN Sports is a website powered 
by the same technology as the new 
Xbox Live website," explained a 
spokesperson for Microsoft. "It will 
enable Xbox Live subscribers to create 




leagues and tournaments 
for XSN Sports titles that 
will be arriving later this year." 

While this is good news for Live 
players, it's important to remember that 
past updates have been constantly 
delayed, so don't be too surprised if 
this one arrives a little late... 




NEWS I GAME GRANTS I GAME VOUCHER 



» KONAMI I TELEVISIONS I THE SHAPE 



3r 



BITE-SIZED STORIES FROM 
AROUND THE WORLD OF GAMING 



I'M LEAVING 

Masahiro Sakurai, the creator 
of Kirby and director of Super 
Smash Bros Melee, has left 
HAL Labs after supposedly 
being unhappy with corporate 
politics. It's as yet unclear what 
Sakurai-san intends to do in 
the future. One option would 
be to join the 12-strong 
Okatuku development house 
that's been created by ex- 
Capcom producer Yoshiki 
Okamoto. Despite being 
offered a position as dean at 
one of Japan's biggest game 
development collages, 
Okamoto-san decided to 
continue developing games. 
Okatuku will develop new titles 
across all major formats. 




FRENCH 

GOVERNMENT 

OFFERS 

GRANTS TO 

SOFTWARE 

DEVELOPERS 





TRES BIEN 



We've teamed up with those 
fine people at GAME to offer 
you a £3 discount voucher, 
thus ensuring your hard-earned 
cash will stretch just that little 
bit further. There are still a few 
quality games kicking around, 
so we're sure you'll think of 
something... 



1r, 



French software developers are being 
offered grants of up to €4 million (£2.9 
million) in an attempt to develop new game 
leas. Grants will also be used to help 
smaller companies weather what has been 
a tough year. But before you send off your 
game proposals, the French Ministry of 
Culture has created guidelines to ensure that 
the funds will not be abused. Would-be 
recipients need to be French and all work on 
the future titles must be carried out in France. 
In addition, handouts won't be given to any 
violent or pornographic games. 

"The French Government has recognised 
that the development of innovative IP 




[intellectual property] cannot be funded by 
publishers," said Roger Bennett, director 
general of the Entertainment and Leisure 
Software Publishers Association (ELSPA). "It's 
simply too risky for them, illustrated by their 
scramble for licences in existing successful IP 
such as in film, sport and other media. 
Developers find the process equally risky." 

Escalating costs for developing new titles 
are another problem that the French 
government is hoping to overcome through 
these grants. "It costs a minimum of £100,000 
just to bring a product to some sort of 
prototype level worthy of presentation," said 
Bennett. "Creative innovation is drying up, 
to the extent that UK developers are 
increasingly becoming contractors for 
content sections on licensed product." 

This isn't the first time that France has 
offered an incentive to developers. Several 
years ago, a similar scheme saw the likes of 
Titus and Infogrames acquiring several 
companies in an attempt to secure extra 
funding. But when Titus realised it couldn't 
fund these acquisitions, it ran into financial 
difficulties. With this in mind, it'll be interesting 
to see if history repeats itself and, more 
importantly, if the grants scheme is something 
the British government would consider. 

"It would be extraordinary for the UK 
government to provide apparently open- 
ended hand-outs," said Bennett. "The industry 
must first help itself if it expect others, 
including the government, to invest later." 



018 games™ 



NEWS I THE PLAYERS I KONAMI 



TO CREATE A GAME IS TO CREATE AN 
ATMOSPHERE - IT TAKES EXTREME IMAGINATION 
AND VISION TO MAKE A TRULY GREAT GAME" 



DAVID HAYTER, ACTOR, WRITER, MEMBER OF FOXHOUND 




DAVID HAYTER 

KONAMI 

ost of you have probably played Hideo Kojima's 
Metal Gear Solid. However, many of you may not 
know that the man behind the English voice for 
Solid Snake is a rather interesting individual. From having a 
solid career in voice acting (for games and anime) to being a 
particularly accomplished scriptwriter for films such as the 
X-Men franchise, David Hayter is quite a renaissance man. 

Born in Santa Monica, California, Hayter moved around 
during his early years, living in many parts of the US, 
Canada, Japan and Hong Kong. At the tender age of nine, he 
decided that he had to be involved in the movies. "I collected 
comics as a kid," he explains, "I studied martial arts and, 
when I was old enough, started riding motorcycles. Basically 
I wanted to become Batman when I grew up. Fortunately, it 
hasn't happened to me yet... growing up, that is." 

Hayter's interest in comics paid off when he was asked to 
write the script for the first X-Men movie, which had been a 
long-held ambition. "I was an only child, who moved every 
year of my life," remembers Hayter, "and the X-Men - in 
their Chris Claremont days - were my closest friends. When I 
was 15, 1 used to dream about the X-Men movie, praying 
that they wouldn't screw it up. To have the chance to 
participate in the film and the retention of the integrity of the 
world was like a dream come true." 

Though he may not have become Batman, David got 
pretty close when he played the lead role of Sean Barker (a 
pseudonym that David often uses in real life) in the 1994 film 
Guyver: Dark Hero. Based upon the acclaimed manga opus 
of Takaya Yoshiki, Dark Hero was the second live-action film 
in the series -the first starred Mark Hamill and was really, 
really bad. "I loved being the Guyver," says Hayter. "I did 
that movie when I was 23 and it really gave me the chance to 
star in a movie where I actually got to be the hero. I also met 
my future wife during filming so that worked out well. But 
my life has changed since then. I've now attained a certain 
amount of success behind the camera, and it's made me 
realise how much I don't want to be recognisably famous." 

Of course, being the Guyver wasn't the only time David 
Hayter would play the hero - he also got to play the voice of 
everyone's favourite bad-ass Solid Snake (who's real name is 
also David, funnily enough) in Metal Gear Solid and then 



again in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty. Concerning the 
latter, however, many felt that Kojima lost his narrative focus 
and turned the finale of the second game into a (probably 
unintentional) post-modern satire. "I tend to agree," says 
Hayter, "though I think people were expecting a game just 
like the last, and Kojima gave them something else. To create 
a game is to create an atmosphere, compelling characters 
and action, and an entire world to drop your player into. It 
takes extreme imagination and vision to make a truly great 
game and the process forces you to stretch your creative 
resources to the limit. The world we were dropped into in the 
second game was far more ethereal than the first, more 
dream-like. If it was a surprise to most gamers, well, that is 
what a ground-breaking artist like Kojima is supposed to do." 

Unsurprisingly, David is also an avid gamer- as well as 
playing through both Metal Gear Solid games (obviously) he 
also likes to sample other gaming delights. "I try different 
games, just to give me an idea of what's out there," he says. 
"I try to look for games wherein the created world is fully 
fleshed out and immersive. I like games where you have the 
whole world laid out and you can explore it at your whim - 
like in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you are a tourist from 
another world, able to dictate your own course. In something 
like Enter The Matrix, however, you're forced to follow a pre- 
determined path. This may feed into the fate/destiny 
elements of the films, but it also feels as if it limits the 
experience for me." 

But what about plans for the future? "I'd like to start with 
world domination, and see where that takes me. Actually, I 
am pulling all of my varied experience together to put into 
my directorial debut with the movie Watchmen. I've also 
purchased the rights to various books in an effort to put 
other productions into the pipeline as a producer. In five 
years, I hope to create a mini-studio around my various 
efforts, then I can go back to acting. Or retire. Or take up fly- 
fishing. I also enjoy backgammon. And gaming. But 
for now, I've got plenty on my plate to execute to the 
fans' greatest satisfaction." 

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is due for release on PlayStation2 some time 
in 2004, while Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is out on GameCube at the 
end of this year. 



020 games™ 



• nam 







YOU MAY RECOGNISE 
HIM AS SOLID SNAKE, 
BUT TO ANYONE THAT 
KNOWS HIM PROPERLY 
THE VOICE OF FOXHOUND'S 
MOST DANGEROUS MEMBER 
IS ONE OF THE MOST 
MULTI-FACETED MEN IN 
THE INDUSTRY... 



V 



games™ 021 



_WS I SCREEN SCENE I FEATURE 




IALL 

WHEN IT COMES 
TO PLAYING 
GAMES. Y"" 
MIGHT H 
URCONS 
BUT NOW 

SOMETI 

DECENT TO I 

ITTHROI 

AND WITH Si 



While soi 
considi 
covera 



hile some of you may have 
considered last issue's 



W W coverage of surround sound 
speaker systems a little excessive, the 
truth is that you really do need to invest 
in your equipment set-up if you want to 
get the best out of your gaming - though 
it's not always about how much you 
spend. Of course, while we consider a 
good sound system to be a must-buy, it's 
not the first thing you need to consider; 
without a television to run your console 
through, you're scuppered. 

Before you begin, you'll need to decide 
on a format - this will dictate not only 
your TV's look, but also the price. 
Cathode ray tube (CRT) TV is still with us, 
but now in improved widescreen mode. 
In fact, buying a bog-standard square- 
screen TV these days is pretty hard, so 
your options are limited. Widescreen 
offers a more natural viewing shape than 
a square screen and comes closer to 
offering a cinematic experience, plus 

more and more games today are 
supporting widescreen. If you 
want to be properly modern 
though, you'll need to get your 
hands on a sexy plasma - 
undoubtedly the best-looking big- 
screen solution with the biggest 
'wow 7 factor. Plasma screens have 
been coming down in price 
steadily over recent months and 
are finally within reach of us 
normal gamers, so ifs certainly 
something you should consider. 
Still, no matter which one you 
choose, the good news is that 
screens are the easiest piece of 
equipment to set up, mainly 
because you have your own 
failsafe testing device (yes, those 
are your eyes) to ensure the very 
best quality is being squeezed out 
of your kit. We've covered four of 
what we consider to be the top 
televisions around, each of which 
I fall into a different category and 
] price bracket. Take a look and see 
1 if one's suitable for you . . . 






games™ 



m . 



Ilii 



SHARP 28HW53H 



Price: 


£400 


Screen Size: 


28-inch 


Flat Screen: 


No 


Refresh Rate: 


50Hz 


SCARTS (RGB): 


3(2) 


Audio: 


NICAM 


Available From: 


Sharp (0800 1385051) 



First, the bad news - this Sharp 
television is designed to give the 
appearance of being a flatscreen, a trick 
it doesn't really pull off. It doesn't matter 
though, because it's still a very good- 
looking set (even if the frame is a bit 
too chunky). 

Surprisingly, connectivity is 
impressive for a set at this price - three 
SCART sockets on the rear of the set can 
cover most eventualities, including an 
RGB signal. This is great news for 
gamers who own more than one 
console or have a separate DVD player. 
Under a drop panel on the front frame, a further set of AV 
connections allows a temporary source like a camcorder or 
console to be used with either S-Video or composite signals. 
Setting up the television itself is easily done via the on-screen 
menu, which is easy to navigate and has pictograms to simplify 
matters further. 

The high-quality picture is naturally dark, which is great for 
most games, though the picture can be brightened without 
affecting the quality if the game is too overcast {Splinter Cell, for 
example). Colours are accurately represented (vibrant reds are a 
particular strong point) and clarity is superb. In terms of audio, 
the stereo sound isn't the best on offer here, but it's clear and 
has a definite space despite the close proximity of the left and 
right channels. Still, we'd recommend an additional sound 
system to complement the picture. Overall though, this is a fine 
television from Sharp, with much to recommend it. 




TOSHIBA 42WT29 



Price: 


£1689.99 


Screen Size: 


42-inch 


Flat Screen: 


Yes 


Refresh Rate: 


100Hz 


SCARTS (RGB): 


3(0) 


Audio: 


Dolby Digital 


Available From: 


Toshiba (08704424424) 



Carrying TVs around is one of the more laborious tasks that 
befalls the games™ team, which is perhaps justification for our 
attraction to plasma screens. Thankfully, Toshiba's new Super 
Screen range carries lightweight rear-projection technology and 
the result is a TV that's as easy on the arm as it is on the eye. Of 
course, no shelving means you've got to find somewhere else 
to put your console, but if you want your TV to stand out, this 
will certainly fill up a corner of the room. 

A great collection of connection selections makes it very easy 
to hook up the TV. Also, the speaker system that accompanies 
the 42WT29 is fine to get started with - it delivers an impressive 
stereo performance, boosted by Dolby Pro-Logic II that projects 
a sharp sound. Toshiba has included a 
pair of speakers in the package that are 
intended for use as rears wired directly 
into the TV, so by making the most of the 
subwoofer output, the illusion of a 
complete surround is as close as a 
standalone TV can offer. 

Sadly, the picture doesn't always 
match the price tag, as the set struggles 
with contrast and some background 
detail. However, the colours are warm 
and vibrant and the difference is clearly 
noticeable in games such as Jet Set 
Radio: Future and GTA: Vice City. The 
42WT29 delivers a solid performance - 
to the unscrupulous eye, the flaws will 
seem minimal and this package, boosted 
by excellent audio, has a lot to offer. 







PHIUPS 36PW9767 



Price: 

Screen Size: 
Flat Screen: 
Refresh Rate: 
SCARTS (RGB): 
Audio: 
Available From: 



£2,000 

36-inch 

Yes 

100Hz 

4(2) 

Dolby Digital 

Philips (08709 009070) 



This top-of-the-line Philips 36PW9767 TV, which incorporates 
unique Pixel Plus technology, has been graced with brand new 
styling. The sleek silver casing (complete with matching stand) 
places the emphasis on style as well as performance. 

If it's cold, hard stats that get you drooling, then this TV has 
enough to keep you happy for a long time. Pixel Plus features 
advanced picture processing software that doubles today's 
standard of 1,024 (pixel horizontal) x 625 (line vertical resolution) 
PAL by producing a matchless 2,048 x 833 presentation. What 
this means is an increase in picture depth, so the image looks 
fantastic. Audio is also up to scratch, with built-in subwoofers 
and wireless surround speakers using their Dolby Digital 5.1 
status to full effect. 

Pixel Plus is great for slower games such as RPGs but fast- 
moving images will tempt even the best processing techniques 
to flicker and appear disjointed. Fortunately, the 'Double Lines' 
mode offers rich and 
vibrant colours with 
fantastic sharpness 
and a total absence of 
visible picture lines, 
providing exceptional 
performance with fast 
games like Pro Evo 2. 
Mix this with all the 
audio/visual functions 
you can imagine and 
the Philips 36PW9767 
is simply miles ahead 
of the competition. 



"THE 

42WT29, 

BOOSTED 

BY 

EXCELLENT 

AUDIO, HAS 

A LOT TO 

OFFER" 



"FRESH 
FROM THE 
BOX, THE 
STYLE OF 
THE KZ32- 
TS1E GIVES 
IT A HEAD 
START" 

■ The Philips 36PW9767 
uses the latest Pixel Plus 
technology to good effect. 




SONY KZ32-TS1E 



Price: 


£4,500 


Screen Size: 


32-inch 


Flat Screen: 


Yes 


Refresh Rate: 


100Hz 


SCARTS (RGB): 


2(2) 


Audio: 


NICAM 


Available From: 


Sony (08705 111999) 




Fresh from the 
box, the style of 
the KZ32-TS1E 
gives this set a 
head start, though 
we still can't 
believe if s a 32- 
inch screen not a 
28-inch one. The 
simple menu 
system offers a 
fairly standard 
selection of options; along 
with three picture and colour modes, there's also 
space to save personalised settings and several screen shift 
adjustments. The quality of the audio performance is enhanced 
by plenty of fine-tuning choices as well, with all the adjustments 
visible and audible without having to lose the menus. 

The toasting glow of the screen has excellent support from 
great precision and fluency. The 100Hz refresh rate justifies its 
flicker-free claims with a smooth image throughout, spoilt only 
by the crisp edges and sharp characters that savage the screen 
in more fast-paced action games. What's more, an excellent 
stereo display draws a surprisingly widened sound. 

The KV32-TS1E has all the connections, components and 
features you'll need for an excellent gaming TV. Throw good 
sound and a sweet picture into the equation and you've got an 
almost perfect solution. The only curiosity is how this adds up 
to just £4,500. With quality like this, it could afford to set its 
sights much higher. 








024 games™ 



» LETTER FROM Ar 



SEEING THE 
BIGGER PICTURE 



While we don't want to state the 
obvious, the first prerequisite 
for any console owner is that you 
need something to play your games 
on. Of course, years ago you had two 
choices - either a good old CRT box 



The oldest TV technology on sale 
today, but also still the best. 

Improvements in CRT have 
ensured that it remains both the 
most pleasing and the cheapest of 
visual displays. 

These days, nearly all CRTs come 
with widescreen as standard - being 
the size-conscious folks we are, we'd 
consider a 28-inch widescreen TV 
the minimum requirement for any 
self-respecting gamer. 



or an expensive and bulky rear 
projector. Thankfully, we've come a 
long way since then and there's a 
whole new set of options for the 
screen-needy, catering for a range of 
increasingly deep pockets. 



A flat screen is a bonus as it 
reduces reflections, and if you can 
get 100Hz scanning thrown in as 
well you're looking at a top-notch 
TV. As with all screens, connectivity 
is of great importance. Make sure 
your TV has at least three SCART 
sockets with at least two able to 
support an RGB signal - the ideal 
input for your average console. If 
not, consider buying a separate 
SCART switching box. 



ERICA I KONGETSU I B 


^ 



REAR PROJECTORS 



Looking more like some kind of 
American uber-television than 
the more conventional units, 
rear-projection television sets 
use projector technology and 
come in LCD/DLP and CRT 
varieties. Although we 
recommend you get a demo of 
any product you buy, rear 
projectors are essential if you're 
planning to show off to your 



PLASMA/LCD 



Plasma is the must-have product 
for the style-conscious lounge 
owner. Seducing with their skinny 
looks and huge screens, they're 
perfect for the obsessive gamer. 
Plasmas come in 32-, 42-, 50- and 
61 -inch varieties, with a few less 
popular sizes in between. 

Straddling the corporate display 
and home entertainment markets, 
it's not unusual to find some odd- 



friends - however, the image is 
very much a matter of taste. 

The biggest problem from a 
gamer's point of view, however, 
is potential burn damage to the 
actual screen (although lowering 
contrast and brightness can help 
to combat this). Although not 
hugely popular, rear-projection 
remains a cost-effective way to 
achieve big-screen results. 



looking connectors around the 
back that you'll never need if 
you're just using it for consoles. 
More recently, high-tech (but 
smaller) LCD screens have started 
to appear. Looking just like plasma 
and with the same benefits, it's only 
the technology that separates them. 
Sadly, LCD has not come as far in 
terms of contrast capability and has 
yet to drop below the £200 mark. 





JARGON 
BUSTER 

CRT 

The cathode ray tube (CRT) is the 
base technology for all televisions 
and some projectors - needless to 
say, it's been around for ages 
although technology has 
improved over the years. 

LCD 

Liquid crystal display (LCD) is 
used in many applications from 
calculators through to 40-inch 
television screens. An array of 
coloured pixels can be switched 
on and off individually, creating a 
very detailed image. 

HDTV 

The latest wave of TV 
technology, High-Definition 
Television is yet to become a 
mainstream format - most 
probably because HDTV sets 
currently retail for several 
thousand pounds. 

100HZ SCANNING 

Standard TVs refresh their image 
50 times every second - 100Hz 
scanning doubles this refresh 
rate, resulting in a more stable 
image. This in no way affects 
your TV's ability to handle NTSC 
signals though, so import 
fanatics needn't worry. 

PROGRESSIVE SCAN 

A technique used by all HDTVs 
that replaces the more 
conventional interlacing 
technique employed by current 
televisions. It offers a brighter 
picture thanks to the increased 
number of scan lines visible. 

YPRPB/YCRCR/ 
RGB/COMPONENT 

Component video is best 
because it keeps the raw red, 
green and blue signals from a 
video source separate. RGB is 
wasteful as some of the picture 
information on each signal 
is the same, so YPrPb or 
YCrCb are used because they're 
more efficient. 

SCREEN BURN 

Normally associated with rear- 
projection or plasma screens, 
screen burn arises when a static 
image is displayed on the 
television for an extended period, 
leaving the image 'burnt' onto 
the screen. 





LETTER FROM 
AMERICA 

WITH YOUR FRIENDLY EX-PATRIOT, THE SHAPE 




"THE WORD 'DISPOSABLE' HAS NEW MEANING; SOMETHING 
ONE IS ADVERTISED ON TV AND YOU'VE GOT ROOM FOR IT ON A 



For the longest time, I was perplexed by the gargantuan 
piles of crap at the end of people's driveways. Grand 
homes with well-manicured lawns, multiple cars and the 
requisite post-9/1 1 American flags; clean houses kept freshly 
painted yet oddly soiled by mountains of random flotsam out 
there on the pavement. Big items: fridges, sofas, weight 
benches, baby strollers, floor-standing speakers, bikes, computer 
chairs, televisions - all dumped on top of each other, left out in 
the rain. The same houses always have a pile, though the stuff 
changes. What they're doing, week after week, is throwing their 
gear out at a terrific rate, refreshing the contents of their homes 
to the beat of the seasons. 

So much is available so cheaply that nothing old has any 
value any more. It's all left for the garbage truck; nothing 
donated to charity thrift stores, nothing sold used, nothing given 
to family or friends perhaps setting up their own places. After all, 
they can get their own new stuff. The word 'disposable' has new 
meaning - something is disposable the moment a better one is 
advertised on TV and you've got room for it on a credit card. It's 
an endless cycle. I own boots that have generously outlived the 
entire contents of some of these houses, from the carpet on the 
floor to the lights on the ceiling. This convention only has to 
work to your advantage once, of course, to turn from sickening 
excess to reasonable upkeep. 

A friend of mine - 1 believe we are 'buddies', as this is how I 



am addressed during Team Capture-The-Bag on TimeSplitters2- 
called up one bright 90-degree afternoon. "Watcha doin' right 
now?" he asked. I mentioned something about trying to convert 
quantities of raw ingredients into what Mrs Shape had promised 
would become French toast at the end. This, being iniquitously 
more complicated than instant noodles, had not gone well. 

"Come on over here real quick," he said, "I just want to know 
if you want something." Ten minutes later, I was in his basement. 
Surrounded by dozens of big freshly-disturbed U-Haul boxes, he 
was smiling broadly. "I just ordered a new PC," he beamed. "It's 
the fastest one Dell makes - 3.6 gigahertz processor, two gig of 
RAM, 21-inch monitor. It's costing me nearly five thousand 
dollars! I wondered if you wanted all this stuff." 

He indicated two large Rubbermaid hampers with a cardboard 
box on top. All three vessels were jammed full of Nintendo kit, 
everything from 1985 to 1996. The room seemed to get bright, 
and I realised I was feeling woozy, a growing metallic ringing in 
my ears. Two NES consoles with pads, Super Controller 
overlays, Zapper lightguns and a Zoomer wheel. Two Super 
Nintendos - one still boxed - with more guns, pads and cables. 
Two original chubby white Game Boys with, God bless it, Tetris 
amongst their cartridges. A very dusty N64 rounded out the set, 
as well as an entire storage bin full of games for all machines. 

As I sorted through my spoils, sitting amongst boxes of toys 
and the sort of pap you always wonder who buys (like 




IS DISPOSABLE THE MOMENT A BETTER 
CREDIT CARD. IT'S AN ENDLESS CYCLE" 

decorative plates painted with Dalmatians in fire hats), I wondered: 
who could do without all this cool Nintendo gear? You could pick most 
of it up for pennies, yes, but there were gaming classics such as the 
Marios that you can't ever replace with Half-Life 2 on your whiz-bang 
new PC. You'd have to be mad, right? Then again, maybe I'm the crazy 
one for hoarding this plastic junk like gold. Just at this moment, my 
friend happened upon an old wallet down there amid the heaps of 
possessions being chucked out to make way for the new 
iibercomputer. He withdrew a little photograph, holding it where I 
could see. "That's my ex-wife," he said before, without warning, 
stabbing the picture with a compass. "Bitch." 

At that point, I decided against questioning the sanity of unloading 
a veritable Nintendo museum. Abruptly, I realised why there were two 
of everything: the legacy of a broken Nintendo family. Once, they must 
have sat laughing together, playing this grimy cart of the Jeopardy 
quiz show; now they're stabbing each others' photographs. Maybe I 
was meant to learn that every pile of trash tells a story. But I think what 
I really learned was that I enjoy not having to buy Choplifter III, Mario 
All Stars and Ninja Gaiden. Thanks, buddy. 



Many thanks 




WANT ANY 
QUESTIONS 
ANSWERED BY THE 
SHAPE? THEN DROP 
HIM A LINE AT: 
theshape@comcast.net 
...HE MIGHT LISTEN, 
IF YOU'RE LUCKY 



EA I ILLUSION SOFTWORKS 



AMERIKAAN 

PRODUCTS, PLACES, SERVICES 
AND EVENTS FROM THE LAND 
OF THE FREE 

SUPER SABADO SENSACIONAL 

Deliriously pleasing Saturday morning Spanish- 
language TV show. Three hours of spontaneous 
dances, Fear Factor-type challenges, singing and 
busty Latinos. 






US MULTIFORMAT TOP TEN 





Title 


Publisher 


Format 


1 


Enter The Matrix 


Atari 


Multi 


2 


Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness 


Eidos 


Multi 


3 


The Hulk 


Vivendi 


Multi 


4 


NBA Street Vol. 2 


EA Sports BIG 


Multi 


5 


Brute Force 


Microsoft 


Xbox 


6 


Donkey Kong Country 


Nintendo 


GBA 


7 


Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire 


Nintendo 


GBA 


8 


Midnight Club II 


Rockstar 


Multi 


9 


Disney's Finding Nemo 


THQ 


Multi 


10 


Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition 


Konami 


GBA 



(Updated 08/08/03) 




games™ 027 



at imwr ii 

NEWS I KONGETSU I REPORT 



V I 










REPOR 



■K 



» . 



* f \^ 




a ^f fc 






T>/?^ 



til 



KONGETSU* 

WITH JAPANESE CORRESPONDENT OLLIE BARDER 






'JAPANESE GAME TRENDS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS SHORT-LIVED, 
PERRY'S BRAIN FART AT OFF-PUTTINGLY LOW PRICES PROVES 



off the hook because 
GoldenEye was great. But 



Those with any sense of continuity may remember my 
totally justified slamming of the banal piece of gaming 
trash that is Enter The Matrix. Many may also laugh 
their arse off at the fact that the damn game has practically 
blitzed the Japanese charts. Obviously, this leaves me 
with much egg and nutty brown stuff all over my 
face. So I'll do the mandatory back peddling here and 
fervently explain that the Japanese charts aren't that 
indicative of gaming trends as they are in Blighty, but 
I'm pretty sure that the damage has already been 
done in any case. Regardless of my slight lack of 
foresight, we still have a very uncomfortable 
problem on our hands. 

Firstly, we all agree that Shiny's Enter The 
Matrix is a particularly naff piece of software. 
Yes? Good. Secondly, it sold by the 
bucketload - this is not so good. But the 
question is: why did this happen? The fact 
is, movies that make it into game form sell. 
A lot. In Japan, the same can be said for 
anime (and manga too, but to a more limited 
extent). The difference between Western and 
Eastern game design philosophies is that most Western 
game developers simply can't be bothered to plough all their 




efforts into a mediocre and derivative game, due to the fact that 
some affluent film executive is calling the shots rather than their 
own bustling creativity. In Japan, they love it. 

More accurately, the Japanese are discipline fetishists. They 
approach seemingly banal projects with mystifying zeal. 
Moreover, they care about anime and also do their damnedest 
to create a game worthy of the parent opus. Admittedly, they 
don't get it right all the time, but their track record is pretty solid. 
So I can only assume that with Enter The Matrix Japanese 
gamers expected the same level of quality - or at least for the 
game to be fairly solid. 

Much like Squeenix's The Bouncer though, Enter the Matrix 
quickly became available in second-hand game stores; often a 
portent of morbid disaster for any game. The initial sales were 
admittedly bloody impressive, but they haven't been consistent, 
to the extent that many of the smaller retail outfits may take a 
loss due to Shiny's antics - my local game store pretty much 
confirmed this dire state of affairs, as indicated by their orders 
of mandatory hara-kiri for all non-essential staff so as to cut 
overheads. To be fair, this isn't all that suggestive of anything 
really; Japanese game trends are almost always very short- 
lived, but to see racks and racks of Dave Perry's brain fart at 
really very off-puttingly low prices proves that something just 
isn't right. 



028 games'" 



» EA I ILLUSION SOFTWORKS I RELEASE LIST 





* 


*?-'?*: 



p 



iLJHTj- 



BUT TO SEE RACKS OF DAVE 
SOMETHING ISNT RIGHT" 



So, where does this leave us? Certainly bruised and a 
wee bit battered, but otherwise just a little wiser. Sadly, 
games of movies are a necessary evil for the infancy of 
this industry, maybe even a rite of passage. One thing, 
however, is certain - gaming must survive this 
onslaught of insidious vapidity and move onto its own 
creatively greener pastures. 

We all know that games of movies aren't always dire 
- as the likes of Rare's superb GoldenEye attest - so it 
can be done. By now though, many a frustrated games 
designer will be sharpening their Dreamcast fishing rod 
so as to bring this particular columnist to a speedy and 
probably very bloody demise. Indeed, I am blissfully 
ignorant of the idiocies of management within the 
games industry. To that, I have no defence, but for the 
very creators to give up in the face of moronic 
management is a bit sad. The Japanese can and often 
do have to put up with the soul-crushing idiocy of their 
superiors, yet they come out okay. . . most of the time. 
Maybe it's time we finally bit the bullet and ultimately 
kicked arse? 



Kind regards 






TEACH YOURSELF 
JAPANESE 

LESSON TEN: JAPANESE AIRPORT CUSTOMS 

I have nothing to declare Shinkoku surumonowa nanimo arimasen 

They're just audio CDs Korewa tadano ongakuno CD desu 

You don't need to see Mibun syomeisyo o 

my identification. . . minakutemoiindesuka 

These aren't the copies of Korewa anatagasagashiteru rediento 

Radiant Silvergun that Radiant Silvergun siruba gan no kopii jya 






you're looking for. 



anmasenyo. 




Did we mention how bad 
ETM is? Oh, we did. Okay... 










w 










^m 










u*- 


f, 


i 







BIG STOMPY 
ROBOTS OF DEATH 



While it doesn't happen very often, there's 
occasionally a glimmer of hope for anime 
fans and gamers like me. SEGA AM2 is 
currently nearing completion of Chojikyu 
Yosai Macross, a game that covers the 
events of the original 1982 TV series and 
1984 movie. Moreover, it will most likely 
be the first 3D Macross game that doesn't 
utterly suck. Utilising AM2's AeroDancing 
engine, initial screenshots look very 
promising and show that both 
atmospheric and space combat have 
finally been properly implemented. 
Naturally, my current personal level of 
excitement for this is utter orgasmic joy - 
although after Macross M3, can you really 
blame me? So if you please, I'd appreciate 
it if you could raise your glass to Roy- 
sempai and get ready to listen to some 
eighties J-pop choons in the near future. . . 




JAPANESE MULTIFORMAT 
TOP TEN 



Title 

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed 

Pokemon Pinball Ruby/Sapphire 



Publisher Format 

Bandai PS2 

Nintendo GBA 



3 


Tales Of Phantasia Namco 


GBA 


4 


Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 10 Konami 


PS2 


5 


Guilty Gear XX Reload Sammy 


PS2 


6 


Shutokou Battle 01 Genki 


PS2 


7 


Super Mario Advance 4 Nintendo 


GBA 



Kirby's Air Ride 

K-1 World Grand Prix 

F-ZeroGX 



Nintendo 

Konami 

Nintendo 



GC 
PS2 
GC 



(Dengeki Console Game Ranking Top 50, week ending 08/08/03) 




games™ 029 



NEWS I THE PLAYERS I EA SPORTS 



"WE'RE TRYING TO GET OURSELVES OUT OF 
THE VIDEOGAME WORLD AND INTO THE 
ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS WORLD" 



RORYARMES, EA SPORTS 



RORYARMES 



EA SPORTS 



Ignore what the ladies tell you, gentlemen - size really is 
everything, particularly if you're a software developer. 
From the lofty heights of its ivory gaming tower, Electronic 
Arts manages to overshadow everyone in the industry, 
although how it managed to get there in the first place 
through a regular diet of 'same game, different number' titles 
is something that has wrinkled a few noses. However, while 
there may be more than a few rehashed skeletons in the 
company's closet, the powers that be are starting to realise 
you need a bit more than some updated stats to make a new 
game. Besides, you can't deny that it's taken an awful lot of 
work to get the firm to where it is today. . . 

"I think it's all about internal development," says Rory 
Armes, executive producer and vice-president of the EA 
Sports group. "Whether it's FIFA, Madden, NBA Live or NHL, 
they're all done by an internal group, which I think is the 
cornerstone to our strategy. If you look at a sports game that 
has to reiterate itself in a nine or ten-month period, it would 
be very difficult if you were an external developer to 
consistently develop an innovative product every time. 
However, the infrastructure here gives us a real edge; there's 
about 350 of us all working on various sports games, so we 
can share all the best practices amongst ourselves. If anyone 
has a problem, there are another 349 people to discuss it 
with and other teams to observe to see how they do it, rather 
than just the regular 30 or 40 people you have on most 
development teams." 

Having more people to bounce thoughts off is certainly 
something that has done EA Sports' franchises the world of 
good - at least in terms of keeping them going for so long. 
Of course, that doesn't solve the problem of finding a place 
to start when it comes to thinking up the next wave of sports 
titles; something that has proved challenging, even for a 
seasoned developer such as EA. 

"It was hard a couple of years ago when we were 
struggling to decide where we wanted to take our sports 
titles," says Armes. "In the last couple of years though, we've 
built up a vision of where sports games should go today. We 



just have to find ways of getting the maximum out of the 
current consoles to take us where we want to go. We're 
trying to get ourselves out of the videogame world and into 
the entertainment sports world - it's all in the gameplay and 
the motion, in order to make it as authentic as possible. For 
instance, there's always going to be an awful lot of work 
needed on Al and animation, so you look at it and go 'okay, 
well, what we can do, we need to bring out the behavioural 
models more and we need to bring out the physics models 
more'. We've really kind of just started working on those and 
I think we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of it all; 
we've just got into a frame of mind that these games can be 
unbelievable, if we're willing to really try." 

No doubt the more cynical among you will be taking this 
with a pinch of salt, but it does seem clear that EA is really 
making an effort with its upcoming titles. We have some 
confidence that this year's efforts won't end up being just 
another bunch of numbers - instead, we can hope to see 
something a bit more original. But while we're all busy with 
the 2004 range, the top brass at EA already have their sights 
set on the years beyond - and one aspect in particular has 
caught the company's eye. 

"Now that the consoles are really kicking in with their online 
functions, I believe we're going to see a massive curve of 
adoption among console users," insists Armes. "In the next 
couple of years, you're going to see a phenomenal leap into an 
online community, with people from all over the globe not just 
competing against one another, but also forming friendships 
and proving that gaming really is a social thing. There's a 
tremendous amount that we can do in the next couple of 
years, bringing our games into homes around the world and, 
up to now, I don't think we've done that. That's why games like 
FIFA 2004 are really into that. Hopefully, people will realise 
that it's something new and different, without breaking 
the mould of being an authentic football game." 

The next wave of EA Sports titles - including NHL 2004, FIFA 2004 and 
Madden NFL 2004- is due out in November. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 is 
reviewed on page 122. 



030 games™ 




YOU'RE THE TOP OF 
THE FOOD CHAIN, 
THE LORD OF ALL 
YOU SURVEY AND 
THE DEVELOPER 
BEHIND SOME OF 
THE LONGEST- 
RUNNING SPORTS 
FRANCHISES TO 
DATE. SO WHAT DO 
YOU DO NOW? 
WHY, YOU GO OUT 
AND MAKE SOME 
MORE GAMES, 
OF COURSE... 



games™ 031 



NEWS I COMMUNITY I ILLUSION SOFTWORK^f-- 



^ J 



OM M UNITY | 

THIS MONTH, games™ CATCHES UP WITH THE 
NEW KID ON THE EASTERN BLOC, ILLUSION 
SOFTWORKS, AT ITS BUSY STUDIO 









]| 



GAMES™ HEADS 

OUT TO THE CZECH 

REPUBLIC AND 

FINDS A COMPANY 

FULL OF EASTERN 

(EUROPEAN) 

PROMISE, JUST 

WAmNG TO TAKE 

OVER THE WORLD... 



' 



ILLUSION 



•laiwwatt? 



ocation, location, location - it's all 
that matters, or so we're told. 
Not surprisingly though, there's 
an exception to every rule, and in 
..is case the exception proved to be an up- 
and-coming Czech software developer 
working out of his bedroom. But establishing 
a new development house in somewhere as 
unlikely as the Czech Republic, for example, 
does come with a few advantages - the 
distinct lack of competition in the area is 
something that proved particularly useful 
when Illusion Softworks was setting up shop. 
"There were no professional developers in the 
Czech Republic before Illusion Softworks," 
reveals Petr Vochozka, CEO of Illusion 
Softworks, "so we had the advantage of the 



best people in the Czech Republic joining us. In 
the beginning, we were shy to tell the world 
that we are from Eastern Europe, but now 
after the success of our games and that of 
other Eastern European developers such as 
Bohemia Interactive [responsible for Operation 
Flashpoint, I do not see any reason why we 
shouldn't shout about the fact that we are 
from the Czech Republic. I feel it's an 
advantage to come from here - sure, it's 
harder to break through when you not in the 
US or UK but, as we and others have proved, 
it's not impossible." 

Low overheads have also benefited the 
| company and, as producer Lukas Kure 
points out, the studio's independence is a 




great boon. "The fact that we've been able to establish a 
number of top-quality game brands has kept us going 
while some smaller studios have suffered," he says. 
"As an independent developer, we're able to have a 
great deal more influence on the final game than many 
in-house teams. However, while some studios often feel 
that their end goal differs from that of the publisher, 
we're fortunate in that we have a close relationship 
with Take 2 [Illusion has been working with Take 2 for 
five years] and we've always been able to work well 
together to produce some very good PC games." 

Illusion's growth since being founded in 1997 - 
through a combination of Vochozka's hard work 
and investment from venture capital investors the Cash 
Reform Group - is a testament to how untapped the 
Eastern European development industry really is. From 
humble beginnings in a small office (where Vochozka 
worked alone, making Amiga and PC titles with 
students or translating English games for the Czech 
market) to a team of four employees and finally to the 
170-strong company it is today, Illusion was the 
undercurrent for what is proving to be a tidal wave of 
change throughout the development industry. "For a 
while, it was American, Japanese and British companies 
that dominated game development," admits Kure, "and 



some of the world's most famous developers are 
based in these territories. However, the world is a big 
place and as technology reaches all corners of the 
globe, so does its use and development. There are now 
development studios based all around the world from 
Africa and China to Iceland and Eastern Europe. You 
may have to fight a little harder to be heard in the first 
place if you're not on the doorstep of many publishers, 
but those in the know will spot a great team and a great 
game anyway. Location is just geography - at the end of 
the day, it's great games that count." 

It's true that a good game is a good game, 
regardless of where it comes from, but it's still 
relatively impressive to see that one single company 
can produce such a mixture of well-received titles 
without stumbling. Of course, this could be attributed to 
the fact that many of Illusion's titles have been based on 
the concept of war, something that appears to be the 
current hot topic in both development circles and with 
the gaming public going on how many war-based titles 
we've seen either in development or actually on the 
shelves recently. But Vochozka believes that this is 
merely a passing trend. "The same thing happened 
four years ago with real-time strategy games," he says. 
"In one Christmas period alone, we had 50 new launches 



> 



WHERE OUR 
TRENGTHS 
£ AND THIS 
IS WHERE 
ME INTEND 
fUR FOCUS 



PETR VOCHOZKA, 
ILLUSION SOFTWORKS 




033 



NEWS I COMMUNFTY I ILLUSION SOFTWORKS 



THE GOOD, 
THE BAD AND 
THE VIETNAMESE 

Though Illusion Softworks is a fairly new company, it 
already has a number of highly regarded titles to its name. 

HIDDEN AND 
DANGEROUS [PC, 1999] 

G The game that put Illusion Softworks on the map 
as well as being one of the first to start the current 
trend of war games, thanks to its team-based 
gameplay pitting Allied troops against the Nazis. 
The sequel is currently in development. 



i r 




MAFIA: THE CITY OF 
LOST HEAVEN [PC, 2002] 

□ Despite the constant setbacks that Mafia faced 
during development, the game still earned much 
critical acclaim. Currently in development for 
consoles, Mafia is a more mature G7J4-style title - 
more serious, but with just as much bloodshed. 





VIETCONG[PC,2003] 

□ Developed with Pterodon, Vietcong ventured 
away from the third-person viewpoint and into the 
more traditional FPS style of most war-based titles. 
Rather than applying the usual WWII standards, 
the game places gamers in the heart of the south- 
east Asian jungle during the Vietnam war. 



'WE'RE NOT 
WORRIED 
THAT THE 
IDEAS BARREL 
WILL RUN 
DRY -WE'RE 
TOO BUSY 
RELOADING IT" 

LUKAS KURE, ILLUSION 
SOFTWORKS 



DANGEROUS LIAISON 



Currently in development for release towards the end of 
the year, Hidden And Dangerous 2 heralds a huge step 
forward for the series that put Illusion on the map in the 
first place. "Many things are improved," says Vochozka, 
clearly pleased with progress so far, "but the thing we 
are most proud of is the strategic map. It's not an 
external map any more - the camera goes up now, so 
you can still see every tree, bush and stone. You can 
issue commands in real-time and see the units moving, 
or you can pause the game and control everything 
carefully, set waypoints and signals, then unpause and 
see everything unfold. Or, of course, you can pick one 
guy and go for it from a first-person perspective. We are 
curious to see which will be the preferred route for 
players - whilst I think it will be compelling to finish the 
game just using one method, though, I believe most 
players will combine the various styles and use them 
together to get through successfully." 





k. on the shelves, all of the same style of game. The wave 
^ begins with one massive success - for war games I guess 
this would have been Commandos, Rainbow Six, Spec Ops 
or maybe even Hidden And Dangerous -then nothing 
happens for two or three years while developers silently work 
away at their influenced titles, unaware of other competition. 
Then, all of a sudden, as projects near completion, you end 
up seeing at least one new game announced every week. If 
it's where the money is, every publisher wants to have at least 
one of these games." 

So are we likely to suffer, er, overkill and see war 
games go the way of the RTS genre in the near future? 
Probably not, according to Kure, as we seem to be a 
bloodthirsty lot. "There will always be a desire for games 
based on war," he says, "whether the current trend puts 
them in the forefront of everybody's minds or not - 1 think 
it's natural that things fade and return. Here at Illusion 
though, we have so many game ideas it's untrue and it can 

be difficult at times. 
Still, that's the joy 
(and trouble) of working 
with so many creative and talented people. We're 
t worried that the barrel will run dry - we're too busy 
reloading it." 



034 ames 



\» RELEASE SCHEDULE I FROM THE FRONT I FEATURE 



MEN IN 
BEARDS 

Don't mess with developers from 
Eastern Europe - they're 'ard. 

PETRVOCHOZKA-CEO, 
Illusion Softworks "All our 
effort is put into making the 
best games possible, and 
that's something I really 
enjoy doing" 

LUKASKURE- Producer, 
Illusion Softworks "I'm 
incredibly proud to be 
working at Illusion 
alongside some of the most 
creative and talented people 
in our industry" 




Of course, it's not just war that appears to be catching 
everyone's attention as of late - there are also the recent 
developments in the world of online gaming. Surprisingly, 
it's an area that the firm hasn't really explored up to now 
(with only Vietcong offering any kind of online support) but 
with consoles now moving into the online arena, there's 
little doubt that Illusion will step up to the challenge of using 
the technology available. "We would like to have online 
multiplayer support in some of our upcoming games for 
consoles," says Kure. "However, we will still develop games 
without multiplayer options as it doesn't always suit the 
genre or style of game. At present, we have no plans to 
create any purely online games like Ultima or The Sims 
Online. Personally, I still think there will be lots of people on 
consoles who will never try or play many games online. The 
most important thing for us with every new game is to 
decide the primary platform and the online content." 

Despite having to fight something of an uphill battle to 
get itself recognised in the development industry, it's 
looking as though Illusion's dedication to its products and 
determination to get everything right is paying off. However, 
it might also have something to do with playing on the 
company's expertise - by focusing purely (for now) on 
genres with which Illusion has proven itself in the past, it can 



guarantee at least a modicum of success for the years to 
come. "3D gaming is where our strengths lie," says 
Vochozka adamantly, "and this is where we intend our focus 
to stay- it's highly unlikely that you'll ever see anything else 
from Illusion. We have the advantage that we create our own 
opportunities with the support of our publisher. However, if 
we were to present them with a nice cutesy children's game, 
for example, and they found it marketable, I do not see a 
reason why we shouldn't develop it." 

A children's game? From the makers of Vietcong? 

Maybe one day, but what are Illusion's plans for now? 
"As a company, our mission is to develop action, strategy 
and simulation games," says Vochozka, "the majority of 
which are set in real-life situations such as historical or 
present-day settings, maybe with some small touches of 
mystery and sci-fi. It's possible that within a few years from 
now, we'll be working on something of this genre. We have 
currently eight teams busy working on eight different 
games (many of which are in at a very advanced stage, but 
not yet announced) and of these, I can say there will be 
one game that's more than a little surprising..." Could this 
mystery title be the 'nice cutesy children's game' 
mentioned earlier? Probably not, but we'll just have 
to wait and see. 



Forget the stereotypes - computer 

programmers do exist outside the US, 

Japan and Western Europe 




Illusion Softworks used to be one 

man and his machine, but now 

employs around 170 staff. 



games™ 035 



Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour GC 
Take to the links with Mario and co. 



MOST PLAYED 

POKEMON 
RUBY/SAPPHIRE 

Format: Game Boy Advance 

Publisher: Nintendo 

Seeing that the little blighters have just 

been released in the UK, it's the perfect 

excuse to once again pull out our SPs and 

participate in some serious duelling. Like 

Yu-Gi-Oh and Advance Wars 2, Nintendo's 

latest Pokemon adventure just gets better 

the more it's played. And it's definitely not 

one thafs just for kids. 



^ ^^^^^^ 



KNIGHTS OF THE 
OLD REPUBLIC 

Format: Xbox 

Publisher: Activision 

Ifs been a while but Bioware's RPG is 

finally here and is everything we were 

hoping for. An engaging storyline and 

some realistic and believable characters 

along with that Star Wars licence ensures 

that this should sell and sell. And just wait 

until your first big Lightsaber fight... 




F-ZERO GX 

Format: GameCube 

Publisher: Nintendo 

We might have been blown away by the 

scorching arcade version, but the 

GameCube version is even better. Forget 

Wipeout and XGRA - if you want some 

blisteringly fast, gut-churning action, you 

need to pick yourself up a copy of this 

ASAP. Let's just hope Nintendo releases 

this before the year's end. 



/ > 



036 games™ 



^*- 




m 



Manhunt PS2 

Another potentially massive 

game from Rockstar. 



mm 

Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hands GB) 
Plenty of vampires in Hideo Kojima's 
latest release, but no snakes. 




PLAYSTATION2 



ESEH HEl^H HZEHniEB 


SEPTEMBER 


12 September 


Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter 


Capcom 


12 September 


The Italian Job: LA Heist 


Eidos 


12 September 


Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death 


Vivendi 


12 September 


Robocop 


Titus 


19 September 


Colin McRae Rally 04 


Codemasters 


19 September 


Freedom Fighters 


EA Pilfflffl 


19 September 


Ultimate SaGa 


Atari 


26 September 


Amplitude 


SCEE 


26 September 


Finding Nemo 


THQ 


26 September 


The Hobbit 


Vivendi 


26 September 


Soul Calibur II 


EA P!W?1 


26 September 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Conflict: Desert Storm II 


SCi 


TBC 


Everybody's Golf 3 


SCEE 


TBC 


LMA Manager 2004 


Codemasters 


TBC 


Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter 


Vivendi 


TBC 


Yu-Gi-Oh: Duelists Of The Roses 


Konami 


OCTOBER 


03 October 


Alias 


Acclaim 


10 October 


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 


Ubi Soft 


10 October 


Urban Freestyle Soccer 


Acclaim 


17 October 


FIFA Football 2004 


Electronic Arts 


24 October 


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 
Chaos Bleeds 


Vivendi 


24 October 


SSX3 


Electronic Arts 


31 October 


Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel 


Vivendi 


31 October 


XIII 


Ubi Soft KM 


TBC 


Falcone: Into The Maelstrom 


Virgin 


TBC 


Headhunter: Redemption 


SEGA 


TBC 


Pop Idol 


Codemasters 


TBC 


Time Crisis 3 


SCEE 


TBC 


Worms 3D 


SEGA 


TBC Zone Of The Enders: 


The 2nd Runner Konami 


NOVEMBER 


07 November 


LOTR: The Return Of The King 


Electronic Arts 


14 November 


Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time 


Ubi Soft H 


14 November 


True Crime: Streets Of LA. 


Activision lYEfflESi 


21 November 


The X-Files: Resist Or Serve 


Vivendi 


26 November 


Conan: The Dark Axe 


TDK 


TBC 


Final Fantasy X-2 


SCEE Ml 


TBC 


Full Throttle II 


LucasArts 


TBC 


James Bond: Everything 
Or Nothing 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Mafia 


Take2 1MHII 


TBC 


Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Pro Evolution Soccer 3 


Konami PMil 


TBC 


Red Dead Revolver 


Capcom 


TBC 


Tony Hawk's Underground 


Activision I 


DECEMBER 


TBC 


Bad Boys II 


Empire Interactive 



GAMECUBE 



Kfl^K^^^^^^^Hl^^H 


SEPTEMBER 


12 September 


Conan: The Dark Axe 


TDK 




12 September 


The Italian Job: LA Heist 


Eidos 




19 September 


Freedom Fighters 


Electronic Arts 


26 September 


The Hobbit 


Vivendi 




26 September 


Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter 


Vivendi 




26 September 


Soul Calibur II 


Nintendo 


RMSI 


26 September 


Starsky & Hutch 


Empire 




26 September 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


Electronic Arts 


OCTOBER 


03 October 


Bulletproof Monk 


Empire 




03 October 


Wallace & Gromit In Project Zoo 


BAM! Entertainment 


17 October 


FIFA Football 2004 


Electronic Arts 


24 October 


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 






Chaos Bleeds Vivendi 


24 October 


SSX3 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Billy Hatcher And The Giant Egg 


SEGA 


Flflff?! 


TBC 


F-Zero GX 


Nintendo 


Klfffl 


TBC 


Star Wars Rogue Squadron: 
Rebel Strike 




Eiffil 


TBC 
NOVEMBER 








14 November 


True Crime: Streets of LA. 


Activision 


Rffllil 


14 November 


Viewtiful Joe 


Capcom 




21 November 


Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life 


UbiSoft 


rifllTBl 


21 November 


Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death 


Vivendi 




21 November 


Metal Arms: Glitch In The System 


Vivendi 




21 November 


The Simpsons: Hit & Run 


Vivendi 




TBC 


James Bond: Everything Or Nothing 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Mario Kart: Double Dash!! 


Nintendo 


rflffgi 


TBC 


Pikmin 2 


Nintendo 




TBC 


Tony Hawk's Underground 


Activision 


WAR IS 1 


DECEMBER 


05 December 


XIII 


Ubi Soft 






XBOX 





SEPTEMBER 


12 September 


The Italian Job: LA Heist 


Eidos 


12 September 


Star Wars: Knights Of The 
Old Republic 


LucasArts 


19 September 


Colin McRae Rally 04 


Codemasters 


19 September 


Freedom Fighters 


EA Ml 


19 September 


Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death 


Vivendi 


19 September 


Outlaw Volleyball 


TDK 



CALM YOUR FEVERISH ANTICIPATION WITH OUR COMPREHENSIVE UST OF FORTHCOMING RELEASES 




19 September 


XGRA 


Acclaim 




26 September 


Conflict: Desert Storm II 


SCi 




26 September 


Group S Challenge 


Capcom 




26 September 


Pro Cast Sports Fishing 


Capcom 




26 September 


Soul Calibur II 


EA 


rifflsi 


26 September 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


Electronic Arts 


26 September 


Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: 
Island Thunder 


UbiSoft 


rrwffi 


TBC 


Gladius 


LucasArts 




TBC 


Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter 


Vivendi 




TBC 


NBA2K4 


SEGA 




OCTOBER 


03 October 


Bulletproof Monk 


Empire 




17 October 


FIFA Football 2004 


Electronic Arts 


24 October 


Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon THQ 


rTffffi 


24 October 


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 








Chaos Bleeds 


Vivendi 




24 October 


Hunter The Reckoning: Redeemer 


Vivendi 




24 October 


SSX3 


Electronic Arts 


31 October 


Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes 


Atari 




31 October 


Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel 


Vivendi 


PWfffl 


31 October 


XIII 


Ubi Soft 


PWfffl 


TBC 


Dancing Stage Unleashed 


Konami 




TBC 


Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Otogi: Myth Of Demons 


SEGA 




TBC 


Sudeki 


Microsoft 




NOVEMBER 


07 November 


Dino Crisis 3 


Capcom 




07 November 


LOTR: Return Of The King 


Electronic Arts 


14 November 


True Crime: Streets Of L.A. 


Activision 


FTffffl 


21 November 


X-Files: Resist Or Serve 


Vivendi 




TBC 


Headhunter: Redemption 


SEGA 




TBC 


NHL2K4 


SEGA 




TBC 


Starcraft Ghost 


Vivendi 




TBC 


Tony Hawk's Underground 


Activision 


FTPffyi 


TBC 


Wrath 


LucasArts 




TBC 


Worms 3D 


SEGA 




DECEMBER 


TBC 


Grabbed By The Ghoulies 


Microsoft 




TBC 


Raven Shield 


Ubi Soft 






PC 



uhj^h Hns^H ■znfSinfl 


SEPTEMBER 


19 September 


Counter Strike: Condition Zero 


Sierra 




19 September 


Freedom Fighters 


EA 


rifflsi 


19 September 


Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death 


Vivendi 




19 September 


Star Wars Jedi Knight: 
Jedi Academy 


LucasArts 




19 September 


Yager 


THQ 




26 September 


Commandos 3: Destination Berlin 


Eidos 


PWIB 


26 September 


Dragon's Lair 3D 


THQ 




26 September 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


Electronic Arts 


30 September 


Crusaders 


Wanadoo 





30 September 


Half-Life 2 


Vivendi 


rflffgi 


TBC 


Conflict: Desert Storm II 


SCi 




TBC 


Halo 


Microsoft 


F!flff?l 


TBC 


Railroad Tycoon III 


Take 2 




OCTOBER 


01 October 


Pop Idol 


Codemasters 


01 October 


Turok Evolution 


Acclaim 




17 October 


FIFA Football 2004 


Electronic Arts 


24 October 


Broken Sword: The 
Sleeping Dragon 


THQ 




31 October 


Beyond Good & Evil 


Ubi Soft 




TBC 


Breed 


CDV 


PWIB 


TBC 


Chicago 1930 


Wanadoo 




TBC 


Hidden And Dangerous 2 


Take 2 




TBC 


Space Colony 


Take 2 




NOVEMBER 


01 November 


Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne Take 2 




21 November 


Worms 3D 


SEGA 




TBC 


Call of Duty 


Activision 








^B\ ' m 


y 




GBA 


EMI^H ^Efi^H ^I^M^^I 


SEPTEMBER 


12 September 


Space Channel Five: 
Ulala's Cosmic Attack 


Atari 




19 September 


Golden Sun: The Lost Age 


Nintendo 


PWIB 


26 September 


Finding Nemo 


THQ 




26 September 


The Hobbit 


Vivendi 




26 September 


Starsky & Hutch 


Empire 




TBC 


Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land 


Nintendo 




TBC 


Magical Quest Starring 








Mickey & Minnie 2 


Capcom 




TBC 


Sim City 2000 


Zoo 




OCTOBER 


TBC 


Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising 


Nintendo 


WAR IS 1 


TBC 


Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 


Nintendo 


PWIB 


TBC 


Pitfall Harry 


Activision 




TBC 


Super Mario Advance 4: 
Super Mario Bros 3 


Nintendo 




NOVEMBER 


07 November 


LOTR: The Return Of The King 


Electronic Arts 


07 November 


SSX3 


Electronic Arts 


14 November 


Crash Nitro Kart 


Vivendi 




14 November 


Prince Of Persia: 








The Sands Of Time 


Ubi Soft 




21 November 


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 


Ubi Soft 




14 November 


Harvest Moon: 








Friends of Mineral Town 


Ubi Soft 


17^77 


TBC 


James Bond: Everything Or Nothing 


Electronic Arts 


TBC 


Mario & Luigi 


Nintendo 


WflEfl 


TBC 


Pokemon Pinball Ruby/Sapphire 


Nintendo 


rflff?i 


TBC 


Tony Hawk's Underground 


Activision 


WAR IS 1 




E§iiBiBigB§ IMi 



ON THE HORIZON 

OUT RUN 2 

Format: Arcade 
Publisher: SEGA 

Forget the rather tepid-looking ports of 
Space Harrier and Golden Axe that are on 
their way to the PS2, this is the classic 
arcade revival we're salivating over. If Yu 
Suzuki and the rest of SEGA can do the 
same justice to the gameplay that they're 
doing with the visuals, we're going to be 
in retro heaven. Can it be better than the 
original? Possibly... 




DEAD OR ALIVE ONLINE 

Format: Xbox 
Publisher: Microsoft 
Whilst it can't match the depth or 
complexity of Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, 
there's no doubt that the prospect of 
taking Kasumi and co online is very 
enticing. Sadly, it seems that this brawler 
will not be out until sometime next year 
(Tecmo is rumoured to be adding Dead Or 
Alive 3 to the collection as well). 






FATAL FRAME 2: 
CRIMSON BUTTERFLY 

Format: PlayStation2 
Publisher: Tecmo 

We're huge fans of the original Fatal 
Frame (or Project Zero as it was known 
over here), so we can't wait for Tecmo's 
follow up. Taking control of two twins, 
Crimson Butterfly promises to be every 
bit as frightening as its fantastic 
predecessor. Don't have nightmares. . . 







.■) 




i ""^■^Ll a 


iSm" ' *i . 


nJ9H£ 




* '"'■fcJfeiL.TBl 



games™ 037 



NEWS I FROM THE FRONT 



AMK 



THE PEOPLE 
IN THE 
GAMES 
f INDUSTRY 
TELL IT LIKE 

Litis... 



THE SPECS FOR THE PSP ARE HERE, AND MICROSOFT 
'BORROWS' THE CUBE'S GRAPHICS CHIP DESIGNER... 




GAME PLAYERS -IT'S 
TIME TO PHONE HOME 

Qlt's happening 
whether you like it 
or not - more and 
more people are 
playing games on 
mobile phones. 
With the ever- 
increasing complexity of handsets and 
the corresponding quality of games, 
will this new industry take over from 
traditional games? 

'No' is the definitive answer. Of 
course a phone can never replace a 
console or PC, but there's no reason 
why they cannot exist in parallel. 
Increasingly, publishers are looking for 
new ways to extend the life cycle of 
their titles (read: make more money 
from them) and mobile gaming offers 
them this opportunity. Think about 
how the music world has embraced 
the ringtone market for promotional 
purposes (and extra revenue) and you 
get an idea of what's possible. 

Why couldn't a new game character 
first be introduced as a screensaver for 
your phone? Or your game music made 
into a ringtone? Or screenshots from the 
game converted into an animation to 
play on your phone? And that's just the 
tip of the iceberg. 

The real fun starts when you have 
full integration between mobile and 
console or PC games. Think about 
playing a bonus level of a game on 
your handset, which then provides links 
to your console via bluetooth, infra-red 
or USB and unlocks a new level, new 
track, new feature or whatever. We 
haven't even begun to look at the 
possibilities of location-based 
technology, bluetooth, 3G and so on. 

The fun is just beginning with 
mobile games and they are set to 
make some serious revenues in the 
coming years. But their survival 
depends on their usefulness and how 
we develop applications for the 
devices. The message right now is 
don't be afraid of the future - embrace 
it now. 

Enda Caret 

Marketing Manager, iFONE 



038 games™ 



VITAL 
STATISTICS 



So what exactly can 
you expect to find 
inside one of these 
new-fangled PSPs? 

PSP CPU CORE 

MIPS R4000 32-bit Core 
128-bit Bus 
1- 333MHz @ 1.2V 
Main Memory: 

8MB(eDRAM) 
Bus Bandwidth: 

2.6GB/sec 
l-Cache, D-Cache 
FPU, VFPU (Vector Unit) 

@ 2.6GFIops 
3D-CG Extended 

Instructions 

PSP Media Engine 
MIPS R4000 32-bit Core 
128-bit Bus 
1- 333MHz @ 1.2V 
Sub Memory: 

2MB(eDRAM) @ 

2.6GB/sec 
l-Cache, D-Cache 
90nm CMOS 

PSP Graphics Core 1 

3D Curved Surfaces + 3D 

Polygons 
Compressed Textures 
Hardware Clipping, 
Morphing, Bone(8) 
Hardware Tessellator 
Bezier, B-Spline(NURBS) 
ex. 4x4, 16x16, 64x64 
sub-division 

PSP Graphics Core 2 

'Rendering Engine' & 
'Surface Engine' 
256-bit Bus, 1-166 MHz 

@1.2V 
VRAM: 2MB(eDRAM) 
Bus Bandwidth: 

5.3GB/sec 
Pixel Fill Rate: 664 

Mpixels/sec 
max 33M polygon 
/sec(T&L) 
24-bit Full Color: RGBA 

PSP Sound Core: VME 

Reconfigurable DSPs 

128-bit Bus 

1 66MHz @1.2V 

5 Giga Operations/sec 

CODEC 

3D Sound, Multi- 

Channel(7.1) 
Synthesizer, Effects 
Machine, etc. 

AVC Decoder 

AVC(H.264) Decoder 
Main Profile 
Baseline Profile 
@Level1, Level2, Level3 
2Hours(High Quality) - 

DVD movie 
4Hours(Standard Quality) 

- CS Digital 

I/O 

USB 2.0 
Memory Stick 
Extension Port(reserved) 
Stereo Headphone Out 

Communication 

Wireless LAN(i802.11) 

IrDA 

USB 2.0 



THOSE PSP SPECIFICATIONS IN FULL 

AT LONG LAST 



Since this year's E3, Sony has been 
feeding us information about its 
incoming PSP on an extremely limited 'need 
to know' basis. Finally coming to its senses, 
however, the full specifications for its first 
handheld have at last been revealed. 

The PSP's architecture is going to be 
powered by two MIPS R4000 CPU cores; one 
is being designated as a CPU core, whilst the 
other is known as the 'Media Engine'. It's 
unsure at this time if both cores will be 
accessible by game applications, although 
we feel this will be extremely unlikely. PSP's 
Graphic Core 2 is very similar to the PS2's 
Graphics Synthesizer although it only runs at 
around half the clock speed (166 MHz, as 
opposed to the PlayStation2's 300 MHz). 
Indeed, the PSP now appears to be more of 
a cut-down PlayStation2, than simply an 
enhanced PlayStation, which means that the 



porting of original PlayStation titles to the 
new handheld may not necessarily be as 
easy as first thought. 

This could also explain why Sony has 
recently hired numerous emulation 
developers, although it could also point 
towards PS2 and PSX backwards 
compatibility for the Playstation3. Ifs quite 
possible that cut-down versions of early PS2 
games such as TimeSpl'rtters and Ridge 
Racer 5 could even appear on the machine, 
which yet again shows how much Sony is 
prepared to distance itself from Nintendo's 
Game Boy Advance. "I don't think people 
will walk around with a PSP and treat it as 
roughly as you do with Game Boy," 
explained SCEE's president, Chris Deering, 
when the PSP was first announced, and 
with specifications like these, who could 
blame him? wV M 



ATI WILL DEVELOP NEW HARDWARE FOR XBOX 2 

XBOX 2 COPIES 
GAMECUBE 

M 



Iicrosoft has announced that ATI 
Technologies Inc will supply all future 
graphics technologies for Xbox products. 

Although NVIDIA was expected to return to 
the Microsoft fold, a lawsuit over the price of 
Xbox chips and NVIDIA's production 
schedule has soured the partnership. 

After this split, ATI, who designed the 
GameCube's graphics chip, became the next 
logical choice for Microsoft. "We selected ATI 
after reviewing the top graphics technologies 








• 


s*#? 


K 



in development and 

determining that 

ATI's technical vision 

fits perfectly with the | 

future direction of 

Xbox," said Robbie 

Bach, senior vice 

president of 

Microsoft's 

home and entertainment division. 

K.Y. Ho, chairman and CEO of ATI 
Technologies, is looking forward to the 
challenges that developing for Xbox 2 will 
bring. "Microsoft shares our passion for 
cutting-edge technology," he said. "Our 
success working with Microsoft in the past 
gives us great confidence" 

It will be interesting to see if ATI will 
continue to work with Nintendo after making 
this deal, or sever all ties in favour of 
Microsoft's new machine... 



FEATURE I PREVIEWS 



PIE IN 
THE SKY 

WILL UK DEVELOPMENT EVER 
BECOME PROFITABLE? 

With the videogames industry now worth an 
estimated £4 billion every year, we thought it 
would be worth seeing how various developers in 
the UK are currently faring. Eidos is by far the largest 
games company based in the UK and has a market 
value of around £175 million pounds. SCi 
Entertainment is the next largest at around £20 
million. Other companies of note include Argonaut 
Games (no doubt still smarting from the cancellations 
of Orchid and Malice), currently valued at £7 million, 
and Empire Interactive, which is worth £5 million. 

Surprisingly, even with such high figures being 
bandied about, none of these softcos are that 
profitable. Eidos has continually posted losses over 
the last three years (although US sales of Angel Of 
Darkness have brought in £5 million). SCi has only 
managed to make a profit three times in the last five 
years, whilst Argonaut has fared worst of all, only 
managing to create a profit once in the same period. 

It seems that Warthog could be one developer 
that's ready to break this worrying trend. Not only 
has it acquired several other developers (including 
Zed Two and Fever Pitch), it's also managed a 29 per 
cent increase in its turnover. Warthog has also been 
linked to several high-profile titles such as a new 
Harry Potter title for EA and a rumoured RPG based 
on the Lord Of The Rings franchise for Vivendi. 

"Warthog has made the vitally important 
transition to become a leading European developer," 
said CEO Ashley Hall. "We have won several 
particularly high-calibre contracts over the last year 
that reaffirm our long-term strategy of working 
closely with premium publishers on global brands." 

With British developers continually facing financial 
problems, our eyes are on the likes of Warthog to 
bring UK developers back into the limelight. 




I Eidos 
I SCi 

Warthog 

Argonaut Games 
I Empire Interactive 




TURNOVER 
FOR WARTHOG 



I 2002 £8.9 million 
2003 £11.4 million 



UK MULTIFORMAT TOP TEN 






Title 


Publisher 


Format 


1 


Pokemon Ruby 


Nintendo 


GBA 


2 


Pokemon Sapphire 


Nintendo 


GBA 


3 


EyeToy: Play 


SCEE 


Multi 


4 


FIFA 2003 


Electronic Arts 


PS2 


5 


Medal Of Honor: Frontline 


Electronic Arts 


PS2 


6 


Tomb Raider: AOD 


Eidos 


Multi 


7 


The Two Towers 


Electronic Arts 


PS2 


8 


007: Nightfire 


Electronic Arts 


PS2 


9 


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Rockstar 


PS2 


10 


Enter The Matrix 


Atari 


Multi 



■ Nintendo's loveable Pokemon continue to hog the top spots, 
whilst Electronic Arts' platinum range dominates the rest of the 
chart. Sony's EyeToy is still selling extremely well and the 
disappointment that was Enter The Matrix is finally on its way out. 

All information is compiled by ChartTrack and is the strict copyright of ELSPA (UK) Ltd. 
UK Full Price Sales Charts (All Formats) (w/e Sat 16 August, 2003) 




games™ 039 



8 88 88 8 






orget what Buggies said about 
video killing the radio star; right 
now, TV is busy killing the 
videogame star. The industry 
might be thriving, but television's 
continued failure to represent gamers and the 
world of gaming is preventing this noble 
pastime from reaching a far wider audience. 
Not only that, but botched attempts to bring a 
slice of gaming life to viewers everywhere 
have proved to be frustrating for gamers, and 
have given non-gamers yet another excuse to 
turn their noses up at our consoles. Yet 
considering the videogames industry is one of 
the fastest growing areas of British business 
(more so than the film industry, according to 
figures released by ELSPA), isn't it about time 
games got their fair share of exposure? 

It's fairly safe to say that videogame shows 
today are in a pretty sorry state. Sky One's 
Gamezville might be 'wicked to the max' but 
hasn't impressed hard-core gamers (or 
anyone over 12), while the same goes for 
ITVTs LanJam with its computer-generated 
presenters and their 'street' catchphrases. But 
it's not like there isn't an audience for gaming 
shows. "We need TV - we 
need the exposure it brings 
and we want to watch a show 




about the subject we love," 
says Dave Perry, a former co- 
host on GamesMaster and 
Games World. "But for every lacklustre 
videogames show that misses the mark, 
another opportunity flies out the window and 
it becomes that bit harder for someone to get 
a show made in the future." Of course, 
videogame shows have always been TV 
pariahs, overlooked by non-gamers, and 
frowned upon by hard-core game fans, so 



040 games™ 




what have they done wrong? One of the main 
problems seems to be that, unlike gamers, 
videogame shows haven't grown up. The first 
games shows appeared in the early Nineties in 
the heyday of the SNES and the Mega ^ 

Drive, and many gamers who picked 
up a pad in their formative years have 
continued to play games as they've 
got older. Violet Berlin, former 
presenter of Bad Influence and now Game-Pad 
(which she co-produces with Gareth 'Gaz Top' 
Jones), thinks this is the main reason games 
don't get wider coverage. "Videogames aren't on 
TV because they're not yet mass market," she 
says. "Sure, they sell a lot, but only to a niche - 
men aged 16-34. Demographically speaking, 
movies and music have a far wider reach." So 
not only do games have a limited appeal, but the 
majority of shows that are made aren't appealing 
to the right age group. 

Jack Templeton, editor of the GamesMaster 
fansite gamesmastertv.co.uk, agrees that games 
show producers have missed the mark. "The 
current flock of videogames TV shows go wrong 
on the account that 'yoofs' sound just as tragic 
and stupid saying 'wicked' and 'wazzock' as the 
presenters do," he says. "The only show out 
there that shows any signs of decency is Game- 



Pad, but it still doesn't have the spark 
that the Nineties shows had." The tea- 
time slots given to most gaming shows 
clearly demonstrate the age-group the shows' 



A recent attempt at getting games 

on television was GameStars - a 

programme intended to "show the 

country just how far the games 

industry has come", according to 

Simon Byron, who headed up the PR 

for the show. "We worked very 

closely with Granada to ensure 

GameStars was a programme that 

delivered entertainment around 

videogames in accordance with the 

ITC guidelines," he says, "and I 

believe we made great strides. We 

as an industry weren't on the TV 

radar before GameStars; we are 

now." But while the show might 

have been a success for industry 

types, it failed to win over gamers 

with its strange mix of awards and 

the search to find 'Britain's best 

gamer'. "What was an awards show 

for the games industry doing on 

terrestrial TV, when there aren't any 

successful games shows to back it 

up?" argues Dave Perry. "Let's bring 

the hobby to TV audiences via 

successful entertainment shows 

before we start handing out prizes 

for something that's still an 

underground pastime as far as the 

rest of the country is concerned." 



ONE 



OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS SEEMS TO BE THAT, UNLIKE 
GAMERS, VIDEOGAME SHOWS HAVENT GROWN UP" 



makers are after, but then, according to 
Templeton, the youth-oriented programming 
goes too far. "In the case of LanJam and 
Gamezville they ask kids to review the games - 
this is always a no-go area," he says. "I'm not 



saying kids should be deprived of their dreams of 
appearing on TV, merely that they should be 
invited on the basis that they add something to 
the show and not just reply to questions with 
'yeah' and 'the graphics are good'." Getting 






.HU.jd 


1' 




V 



[> 



• • From Bad Influence to Game-Pad, Violet Berlin is one of the 
longest-serving games TV presenters on British television. 



• • They looked a darn sight better than most videogames 
journalists, but the Bits crew didn't stick around for long. 



games™ 041 



•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••••• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••••• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• 

••••• •• •• •• ••••• ••••• •• • 

••••• •• •••••• ••••• ••••• •• • 

•• •• •• ••••• •• •• •• • 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• • 

•••• •••• •• •• ••••• ••••• •• • 

m ••••• •• •••• •• 

•••••• •• •••••• •• 

9 •• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 






r\ children to review games might seem like a right- 
^ on 'made by kids for kids' idea, but probably has 
more to do with the fact that, for older gamers at 
least, the reviews on TV gaming shows are 
largely irrelevant. "In terms of news and reviews, 
'proper' gamers aren't interested because they 
don't believe they will see anything that they don't 
already know," says Jonny Ffinch, producer of 
GamesMaster from series four onwards. 
"They're getting their news from the Internet." 

Not only are TV shows less up to date than 
gaming websites, but time is at a premium and it 
can be hard to accommodate everyone's gaming 
tastes. "When Game-Pad 3 was first broadcast, 
we showed a three-minute review of the then 
Japanese import Dreamcast game Ikaruga, 
which I thought was pretty brave," recalls Violet 
Berlin. "Three minutes is a long time in 
TV, and Ikaruga is pretty hard-core. 
Believe it or not though, someone wrote 
in to complain that the review was too 
short." Clearly, hard-core gamers do 
want coverage that appeals to them, but most 
shows don't have the time to go in-depth. The 
nature of television, with its time-consuming 
production schedules and the endless repeats, 
seems to be a further hindrance when it comes to 
making a games show. Gareth Jones, director 
and co-producer of Game-Pad, reckons it's a 
constant struggle to work within the confines of a 
TV schedule. "As Game-Pad gets repeated a lot, 
we have to be very careful with the information 
we give out on the show," he says. "It might be 





• • Andy Crane may have been enthusiastic on Bad Influence, but 
an authority on gaming? We didn't think so either. . . 

accurate at the time of going to press, but not in a 
month's time. Because of the constraints of 
repeats, Game-Pad has become more feature-led 
- we focus on the culture of games and the 
people who play them, and interviews with 
people behind the scenes. We feel this more 
mature approach is more realistic than just trying 
to chase the exclusive." 



• # The presenting dream team? Dominik Diamond, Kirk Ewing 
and Dave 'enough with the bandana already' Perry. 



• • 



GAMES CAN BE GRIPPING FOR THE PERSON INTERACTING 
WITH THEM, BUT THEY'RE NOT SPECTATOR MATERIAL" 



Unfortunately, while this approach to 
videogames TV might make sense and bring 
things more into line with shows covering other 
forms of entertainment such as film or music, it 
tends to be restricted to digital channels with a 
limited audience. Head for the channels that most 
people watch and what you'll see is usually the 
same - kids playing games, all in the name of 
entertainment. However, the 'viewer challenges' 
concept is one that is currently letting the side 
down in a big way; though it gives young gamers 



a chance to show off their prowess, the nature of 
gaming means that watching someone play 
doesn't always make good TV. "Games are 
interactive, and while they can be deeply gripping 
for the person interacting with them, they're not 
ideal spectator material," says Jonny Ffinch. 
"Obviously, sports like football are interactive too, 
but they're more physically visceral endeavours 
and the people playing the games are the ones 
you watch." Clearly, the lack of appeal in 
watching some kid struggling to master R-Type 



Some television sho 
not always in a goo< 



n very influential on how videogames are portrayed by the viewing public - though 
ow many of these you remember watching over the years. . . 



BV< J 




BAD INFLUENCE 

First Broadcast: 1992 
One of the first shows that 
portrayed games as more than just 
a geeky hobby, Bad Influence was 
presented by Andy Crane and 
Violet Berlin, as well as several 
other minor characters (including 
tips guru Nam Rood). The show 
featured reviews and features and 
ran for four seasons. It also boasted 
the revolutionary 'Databurst' - 
record it, play it back, get tips. Ace. 



GAMESMASTER 

First Broadcast: 1992 
Channel 4's foil to Bad Influence, 
running in a slightly later early- 
evening slot. Although the first 
series had a clean-cut image and a 
perky Dominik Diamond, following 
seasons saw it take a more tongue- 
in-cheek attitude, which endeared it 
to more hard-core gamers. With 
eight seasons under its belt, 
GamesMaster is the longest- 
running games TV show to date. 



: GAMliS WDRL! 

i GAMES WORLD 

• First Broadcast: 1993 

• Another show from the creators of 
9 GamesMaster, taking all the 

• concepts from the 30-minute show 

• and spreading them throughout an 

• entire week. Challenge elements 

• were shown on three days, while 

• reviews, cheats and live coverage 

• featured in the other two shows. 

• However, the format changed over 

• the show's four seasons until only 

• the challenge format remained. 




THE COMPUTER 
CHANNEL 

First Broadcast: 1996 
The first channel dedicated to 
computers and technology. Games 
coverage was limited to a half-hour 
show presented initially by Donna 
Air and ex-Games World co-host 
Alex Verrey. The channel was re- 
branded as [.tv] in 1998 and 
reduced to broadcasting just 12 
hours a day, before being closed 
late in 2001. 



042 games 1 " 










. 






■ 








■ 



BRIG 




Final is something that presents a 
great problem when producing a 
videogames show with challenge 
elements. Sadly, shows like LanJam 
and Gamezville prove it's a problem for 
which no-one has an answer yet. 

With the 'news and reviews' format 
facing an uphill struggle (having been 
superceded by the Internet) and the thought 
of audience participation making most 
gamers reach for their remotes, it's clear that a 
radical shake up could be what the games show 
genre needs, starting with the people behind the 
scenes. "The [right] attitude has been there for 
years in the industry's magazines, yet the TV 
companies just don't see it," reckons Dave Perry. 
"That isn't to say that TV shows should be put 
together solely by magazine 'experts', because 
whether they like it or not, a majority of them are 
quite geeky and wouldn't come across well in 
front of a camera. However, consulting them and 
taking their products as a blueprint for a show 
would certainly be a good start." Persuading the 
people that matter (the producers and 




commissioners) to change, however, could prove 
tricky as opinions have changed little over the 
years. "For a long time videogames used to look 
like crap," says Steve Keen, producer of shows 
such as Bad Influence, Cybernet and Thumb 
Bandits. "It's only recently that they look any way 
near good enough to put on TV for any length of 
time. For the most part though, videogames are 
still perceived as a male domain and a 
commissioning editor's first duty is to 
commission programmes that appeal equally to 



> 





; £■•.■ 


" 




. 


■■ 


1 r < 'ULU 


■ 




Ifjv 




jy 




rjji 



First Broadcast: 1998 
After the more child-friendly 
approach of shows like Bad 
Influence, Bits was decidedly more 
adult. A late-night show, its three 
female presenters all knew their 
stuff in varying degrees and helped 
cater for the stereotypical male 
gamer. The show's content 
managed to provide enough 
interesting features to keep the 
show alive for five seasons. 































. 


■ 


', : 





w 



GAME-PAD 



First Broadcast: 2000 
Game-Pad tends to focus on 
features and other elements rather 
than audience participation, and is 
aimed at a specific gaming 
audience despite appealing to 
everyone - emphasised by the fact 
that it runs on Bravo, a digital 
channel targeted at males aged 16- 
34. Currently on its third series, the 
show has an audience of over three 
million viewers. 






THUMB BANDITS 

First Broadcast: 2001 
Hosted by Aleks Krotoski (of Bits 
fame) and lain Lee. Like Bits it was 
intended as a more adult answer to 
gaming television with plenty of 
humour and honesty in its reviews. 
But it received mixed responses 
from gamers thanks to alleged 
inaccuracies in its reporting, a lack 
of in-game footage and the use of 
reporters with a lack of knowledge 
concerning the subject matter. 



(Gotoie 



GAME NETWORK 

First Broadcast: 2002 
Despite not being the first 
computer-related channel around, 
Game Network was (and still is) 
the only one totally dedicated to 
the subject of videogames. 
However, with much of the 
programme content being 
dedicated in the past to premium- 
rate phone competitions and late- 
night 'adult' chat, a lot of gamers 
have been left sorely disappointed. 







. 


■ ■ . 




.':■•■ ■ . 






games™ 043 









•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••••• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••••• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• 

••••• •• •• •• ••••• ••••• •• • 

••••• •• •••••• ••••• ••••• •• • 

•• •• •• ••••• •• •• •• • 

•• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• • 

•••• •••• •• •• ••••• ••••• •• • 

m ••••• •• •••• •• 

•••••• •• •••••• •• 

9 •• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 

•• •• •• •• •• •• 




Of course, not all videogame shows 
are shows about games - some, like 
the BBC's upcoming Fightbox, are 
more shows set within the games 
themselves. Like the ill-fated 
Cyberzone (the Virtual Reality disaster 
of a show presented by Craig Charles 
in the early Nineties), the show 
features 3D virtual characters - but 
rather than putting on a Virtual 
Reality headset and looking like a fool, 
contestants design their own warriors 
on their PCs at home before 
appearing on TV, where their warriors 
are recreated in 3D and slug it out in a 
virtual arena. Dave Anderson, studio 
head at Gamezlab (the software 
company behind the Fightbox 
technology), thinks that the viewer 
participation is what sets the show 
apart from other gaming 
programmes. "There have only really 
been magazine-based shows which 
review games on TV, or shows that 
mimic gaming," he says. "These 
shows don't really allow the gamer 
their moment of glory on a real-time 
TV show, which is what Fightbox is 
all about." As it stands, the show 
looks like Robot Wars for the PC 
generation - though whether it will 
turn out to be any good is another 
thing entirely. Viewers can decide for 
themselves when Fightbox airs 
towards the end of October. 

"SONY SAID IF IT FELT 
WOULD GO OUT AND 




P> boys and 
girls." 

Sadly, it's not just the 
top brass at the production 
companies and TV stations who are 
getting in the way of quality gaming 
programming either - it's the games companies 
themselves. Exposure for new games is all- 
important, but where this exposure is achieved is 
even more vital. "As far as most videogame PR 
people are concerned, television comes very low 
down on their wish list of coverage," says Violet 
Berlin. "They focus on getting good magazine 
review scores, and at least 50 per cent of them 
don't return our staff's calls and emails. The 
agencies can be a bit better, but then they'll admit 
to us that it's more important for them to get 
coverage on a magazine with a readership of 
20,000 to please the game's publisher than it is to 

A STRONG NEED TO BE ON TV, IT 
MAKE ITS OWN SHOWS" 

go out on a show like Game-Pad with audiences 
in the millions." 

This preference for print media over TV may 
have something to do with the rather poor track 
record of a lot of games programmes compared 
to the pedigree of long-running magazines. 
However, it also has a lot to do with the 
burgeoning success of the games industry. As 
publishers become aware that a well-known 



franchise or a much-hyped 

game is a money-spinner, 

they're less likely to let it be 

used on a videogames show 

where they won't have control over 

its use. What's more, access to the 

people responsible for the game is now 

practically non-existent, except in a strictly 

controlled form. "I remember doing something 

on Kick Off years ago," says Steve Keen, "and 

trying to track down someone from Anco to talk 

about the game. I was given the phone number of 

a guy, called the number and it was Dino Dini - the 

programmer himself. That would never ever 

happen now. Programmers are only let out under 

the strictest PR supervision. Publishers have got 

wise to the fact that if a game sucks, they could 

still make some money from it if no one knows 

about it; if they don't promote it at all, don't give 

any interviews and try and bury it, it won't 

be a total loss." 

The growth of the games industry has 
also meant that, in some cases, games 
• manufacturers are now bigger than the 
TV companies, as Jonny Ffinch found out. "I was 
at a meeting with a commissioner from Channel 
4 and the head marketing guy at Sony just before 
PS2 came out," he says. "Channel 4 were coming 
across very superior, along the lines of 'If you're 
lucky, we might devote some airtime to your 
geeky little product but we're going to need you to 
do this and that.' The Sony guy listened patiently 
and then explained that while they'd be happy to 



044 games™ 






"GAMERS ARE A CYNICAL BUNCH AND CAN 
SEE THROUGH SOMEONE WHO DOESNT 
KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE SUBJECT" 




help if they could, Sony really didn't need 
Channel 4 - the PlayStation brand was 
much bigger than Channel 4 and if they felt a 
strong need to be on TV they'd simply go out and 
make their own shows." Sadly, the 
condescending attitudes of producers and the 
reluctance of games companies to hand over 
their assets for use on TV means that gaming TV 
looks to be going nowhere fast. Plenty of people 
seem to know what makes a games show 
successful, but it's putting these ideas into 
practice that will no doubt prove problematic. 

Jonny Ffinch is sure of the key things a games 
shows needs - "Real knowledge of the subject, a 
genuine approach, it must be up to date, and a 
sense of humour - nearly every good show has 
humour in it" - while Steve Keen thinks that 
"even people who aren't into videogames should 
be able to watch it and be entertained." In 



addition, says Jack Templeton, you also need a 
credible frontman. "The core audience of gamers 
are generally quite a cynical bunch and can see 
through anyone who doesn't understand the first 
thing about the subject," he explains. "It's no 
good getting any young female presenter who 
looks pretty as this just reinforces the notion that 
gamers watch the show with the controller in 
their left hand and something else in the right." 



kfcA 







r .■ , ■ ■ 



• # Remember, you were meant to be watching to find out about 
games, not to watch young ladies messing about. . . 



• # Bob Mills and Tim Boon were the avuncular hosts of Sky 
One's Games World. . . beforeit went all junglist, that is. 



But after so many variations have 
tried and failed - the risque girliness of 
Bits, the more 'adult' Thumb Bandits or 
the farce that is the 24-hour Game Network 
channel - should gamers just accept that a well- 
respected games show is a thing of the past? 
Ffinch certainly admits that the popularity of 
GamesMaster today is "no doubt due to the rose- 
tinted goggles of nostalgia", and it's true that the 
show coincided with a hugely creative and fondly 
remembered period in gaming history. But 
whether the quality of GamesMaster is real or 
imagined, Jack Templeton thinks that current 
games shows have gone too far into the grip of 
the moneymen. "It certainly seems the case 
today that creativity has been shoved aside to be 
replaced with a general sense of getting 'down' 
with the fanboys," he says. 

And that's probably the greatest problem of 
them all right now - because the current wave of 
shows on mainstream television focus on trying 
to be streetwise and coming up with catchy 
slogans that sound as ignorant as the presenters 
usually are, any hope of showing off games in a 
good light is lost. Only the smaller digital 
channels manage to offer a ray of hope (thanks to 
shows like Game-Pad and, to a lesser extent, SFG 
on the Sci-Fi Channel) but even so, this only 
supplies a minority with something even close to 
what most gamers want. With so many issues to 
sort out regarding programme format and target 
audience (be it broad and patronising for 
everyone, or anal and alienating for just gamers), 
it's unlikely that a definitive games TV show will 
appear any time soon. Until it does though, 
games will never truly be considered as 
mass-market as films or music. Will this 
change? Stay tuned to find out. . . 



games™ 045 







>■"■ 



.".I J>- 



T- - 



■ ■■^ "^ 




~U( 




7^1 


u ^ _ 


^ 1 . 


r 


^■t % 


n 


■* jj 



ILtp 



l«K 



V..xW 



MU 



.^x 



_ .r 



1 command you - wise from your gwave! Altered Beast Arcade [SEGA] 1988 


J psV- 




















XT 




p^^^^^r^^^^^^F^r^^^p^^^^^^^P 


1 ps^Tpsp__ 


pjh ps m ■ ■ ■ 


r r 1sss^"m ^^■■^^^^■i ■ M ■ 


phps m ps 
■ 1 ■ ~ 

1 ■ 


PJJJJJJl ■ PS PUJJJJJ ■ PJJ1 | 


f y m m M m ^-™ "™ ■ ™ 


■J- ■ ' 


■ ■ . i ■ ■ / 


JGF ^ ■ ' j 


>jrt_ 


1 ' . 


■ 1— 


rf 


1 


■ 




Jtr ji." 




• ^ . s 








■ 


■ PS 


PVS# 


psrl 1 


p 'D 






■ .^. ^^ 






■ ^u 


■- ^i 


■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 




VmZ7^ 


-T i "J— pp> ,-s BBS ■ 




3 


■ 




■ — -■^spjjp -■ ■ — -^ i sp 


fcyy ■■■ * | 


i" JZ£ 


■ B pssF- ,., ■ 


^V|ClU|Q mi ■ 


- ■ B ^P^ - ■ 






■ PS ■ 


* 




PSV 


r + 




mJ**** ■ ^^SS^_ P PJ 




^-■^ ■ PT Pi 1 




psspsi 




■_■■ 


■VTsVlsVl 


ps H psr"fl^ 


I ■!_ -PSl 


>M 




jj 


J^WP-- 


sssl pT« ps 


^^^ 












Jn i 




sbpT" 






■ ■ 


^s n 






i H ■ m w m ^ m m ^^ mmm w m ^ m ^ 




fl^ps^tX^ 


^^^J 


rj r J n 






^^F 






^- ■ . — -. ^— 


"JJJ^- 



' 




1 

1 


1 HHHHHPH ■(/-?'! ==-»--: H| 




■ J v_":<:''--^ 



V 



Jl 


n 


U^\. i j. 










PREVIEW I ROGUE SQUADRON III: REBEL STRIKE I GAMECUBE 

ROGUE SQUADRON 




ITS PREDECESSOR SHIFTED GAMECUBES, BUT WILL REBEL STRIKE DO THE SAME THIS CHRISTMAS? 



is; 



FORMAT: 

GameCube 

ORIGIN: US 

PUBLISHER: 

Activision 

DEVELOPER: 

Factor 5 

RELEASE: 

November 

GENRE: 

Shoot-'em-up 

PLAYERS: 1-2 

Focusing on many 
of the action 
sequences from 
George Lucas' Star 
Wars movie series. 
Factor 5 once again 
looks set to deliver 
the ultimate shoot- 
'em-up experience. 



I The release of the GameCube was a 
I little different from most Nintendo 
hardware launches. Mario was nowhere to 
be seen, and not one of the other launch 
titles developed by Nintendo itself brought 
anything particularly new or exciting to the 
market. Instead, it was SEGA's Monkey Ball 
that led the way - proving that the 
technology was more than capable of 
competing in a cut-throat market, and that 
innovation in gaming was alive and well. 

Of course, monkeys in balls aren't 
exactly the sort of thing that the majority of 
gamers look for from a new console, and 
without a mass-market killer-app 
Nintendo's robust little machine could 
easily have flopped from day one. 
Thankfully, Factor 5's Rogue Leader 
demonstrated a superb use both of the 
technology on offer and the Star Wars 
licence, and in doing so appealed to hard- 
core and casual gamers. 

Despite its impressive visuals and broad 
appeal, though, Rogue Leader wasn't the 
perfect piece of software that some had 
made it out to be. Enjoyable as it was, the 



core gameplay consisted of little more than 
shooting down targets, while twitchy 
controls resulted in the vessels feeling 
more like plastic toys than weighty metal 
spaceships. To top it off, the otherwise 
polished graphics engine had a tendency 
to lose its silky 60 frames-per-second 
screen update whenever there was an 
explosion. The reasons for these glitches, 
however, were a strict completion deadline 
and the fact that much of the program 
code was built on unfinished workstations, 
rather than due to hardware limitations. 
Well, it's been almost two years since 
Rogue Leader launched in America, and 
Factor 5 has been hard at work on the next 
instalment in its popular series - Rogue 
Squadron III: Rebel Strike - ever since. 
Work started just one month after Rogue 
Leader was completed, as Factor 5's CEO, 
Julian Eggebrecht, reveals. "We 
immediately started on prototypes of the 
forest sequences and Hoth, both of them 
huge technical undertakings," he says. And 
it's not difficult to see where all the hard 
work has gone - practically every battle is 




■Cv 


■■. 




■ The forests of Endor are recreated 
in all their leafy glory, right down to the 
very last Ewok. Well, minus that one. 












P 1 








Ac. n 






1 ' 






■ T " 


f, 






* ¥ 5* 



on a larger scale than before, and each of 
the landscapes is positively bursting at the 
seams with eye-popping texture and detail. 
Light sourcing and shadow-casting effects 
are also more impressive than before, and 
this is one area that Eggebrecht is 
particularly proud of. "The new 
atmospheric lighting engine simulates the 
distribution of light in a more or less 
physically correct way in real time," he 
points out. 

Unfortunately, the fact that so many 
polygons, lighting effects and textures are 
being processed simultaneously has 
brought about memory issues that Factor 5 
has had to address. "We maxed out the 
memory restrictions of the GameCube 
with Rogue Leader so it was essential to 
get a very aggressive streaming engine 
going for Rebel Strike to circumnavigate 
the small 24MB memory footprint," says 
Eggebrecht. "We ended up streaming 
everything constantly, so even as you 
approach buildings and landscape details, 
the textures are being fetched from the 
disc." From what we've seen so far it 
would appear that this works well, though 
there are slight irregularities in the frame 
rate in the preview code, perhaps due to 
the disc constantly being accessed for 
texture retrieval. Hopefully, this slight gripe 
will be rectified before release, though 
even in its current state Rebel Strike runs 
far more consistently than Rogue Leader. 

Another aspect of the game that's been 
expanded significantly is the gameplay. It 

TWO FOR THE 
PRICE OF ONE 

Incredibly, Rebel Strike will include the 
full Rogue Leader as a two-player co- 
op game. Thanks to the new graphics 
engine, no detail will be lost from the 
game when running in split-screen. 
Other multiplayer games are also set 
to be featured across a range of Star 
Wars locations, the most promising 
being Speederbike racing through the 
forests of Endor. Sadly, Factor 5 has 
ruled out console link via LAN, saying: 
"We did consider it, but discarded it in 
the early stages of the design. If the 
Rogue Squadron series goes online it 
will be a massive undertaking, not 
something we could do justice to as a 
subset of Rebel Strike." 



[> 



048 games™ 



ROGUE SQUADRON III: REBEL STRIKE 

GAMECUBE 



LI 



DEVELOPER PROFILE 

■ Factor 5 CEO Julian Eggebrecht has been involved in the games industry since 1989 when he and 
some friends decided that their game ideas were good enough to be released. From his parents' 
I home in Germany, Eggebrecht struck a publishing deal with LucasArts (then Lucasfilm Games). 



HISTORY 



■ STAR WARS ROGUE LEADER: RS II 2002 [GC] 

■ STAR WARS: EPISODE I BATTLE FOR NABOO 2000 [IM64] 

■ TURRICAN 1990 [Amiga] 




■ As well as the flying 
sections, you get to gad 
about on a Taun-Taun. 



games™ 049 



PREVIEW I ROGUE SQUADRON III: REBEL STRIKE I GAMECUBE 

ROGUE SQUADRON 

REBEL STRII 




i«tiernMi*iMr±ii:E 

SAME AS BEFORE, ONLY MUCH, MUCH MORE 



EACH OF THE LANDSCAPES IS POSITIVELY 
BURSTING AT THE SEAMS WITH EYE- 
POPPING TEXTURE AND DETAIL" 




■ Factor 5's new graphics 
engine allows lor far more 
polygons to be processed. 



050 games™ 



ROGUE SQUADRON III: REBEL STRIKE 

GAMECUBE 



<k 



PUBLISHER PROFILE 

■ Recently, Activision has become well known for publishing the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, 
though the company's heritage goes back a lot further. Older gamers will no doubt remember the 
name Activision from the boxes of over a hundred 064 games published in the Eighties. 



HISTORY 

■ SPIDER-MAN 2002 [Multi] 

■ TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 2000 [Multi] 

■ PITFALL 1983 [C64] 



r\ appears that Factor 5 has been inspired by 
^ the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Halo as a 
range of vehicles are now accessible in 
many of the levels, bringing a little more 
variation and freedom to each segment of 
the game. Progression is still broken up 
into missions, as before, but through 
constant changes in pace and gameplay 
structure, the developer has been able to 
induce a far more exciting experience. 

The perfect example of this new mission 
structure can be seen on the ice planet of 
Hoth, which is making a welcome return. 
Rather than simply flying around as before, 
the mission begins with the entire 
Snowspeeder crash landing sequence from 
The Empire Strikes Back, after which Luke, 
armed only with his Blaster, must run 
around on foot destroying Stormtroopers. 
From there on in, things become more 
interesting as the mission expands to 

GRAND THEFT ALMOST 

Although Rogue Leader received nothing but praise when it 
was released, it didn't take long for the backlash to begin. No- 
one could dispute that the graphics engine was stunning for a 
launch title, but flashy visuals couldn't hide the somewhat 
shallow (and at times frustratingly difficult) gameplay. Factor 5 
obviously took these criticisms on board, as Rebel Strike has 
been adjusted to include more gameplay variation and balance. 
Aside from the usual flying aspect, the game will also feature 
ground-based vehicles, including AT-STs and Speederbikes, to 
help spice things up. Unfortunately, these will not be accessible 
at any time (as in Grand Theft Auto) but will be introduced via 
FM V cut-scenes at specific points during the levels. 



REBEL STRIKE IS STILL SHAPING UP TO BE 
ONE OF THE BETTER STAR WARS 
VIDEOGAMES AROUND" 



include the destroying of AT-ATs with 
thermal detonators, riding around on a 
Taun-Taun, manning a laser-cannon, then 
taking to the skies once again in an X-Wing. 
Each segment is momentarily broken up 
with cleverly edited clips from the movies, 
demonstrating Factor 5's artistic and 
technical abilities in one jaw-dropping 
extravaganza. The final section is 
particularly impressive, with an epic battle 
that features no less than 50 incredibly 
authentic enemy ships on screen at once. 

Sadly, some elements of this expanded 
gameplay are a little flawed in the preview 
version. The flying sections control in 
much the same way that they did before, 
with the ships still feeling a bit on the light 
side (no pun intended), but the real 
problems arise when it comes to 
controlling the characters on foot. As 
surprising as it may seem after so many 
years of creating games in three 
dimensions, these sections tend to have 
real problems with the camera. Much of 
the time it's either too close or too far away 
from the action, making it difficult to see 
exactly what's going on. 

To make matters worse, the gameplay is 
generally too simplistic, as there's really 



little more to do than run around blasting 
at enemies with virtually no control over 
accuracy. Eggebrecht admits that this has 
been the most difficult part of the game to 
get right, saying: "It's tough to find a 
balance between frantic action and slipping 
into the deliberate tempo of a first-person 
shooter - something we want to avoid." 
However, he insists that the team will 
continue to make adjustments - "We will 
tweak these levels until the last minute," 
he says. Let's just hope that's long enough 
to get the game right. 

Regardless of whether these 
imperfections are rectified before launch, 
Rebel Strike is still shaping up to be one of 
the better Star Wars videogames around. 
After such atrocities as Star Wars: 
Starfighter and Star Wars: Obi-Wan, it's 
difficult not to be cautious whenever a new 
Star Wars game comes along, but if the 
preview code is anything to go by you can 
rest assured that Rebel Strike will be well 
worth a purchase. 

The only downside for Star Wars fans 
is that this Christmas they're going to 
have to buy a GameCube for Rebel 
Strike and an Xbox for Knights Of 
The Old Republic... 




games™ 051 



PREVIEW I TONY HAWK'S UNDERGROUND I PLAYSTATION2/MULTIFORMAT 

TONY HAWK'S 
UNDERGROUND 



!E;1200 



iwircu 



'HOPEFULLY IT'LL 
GET MORE PEOPLE 
INSPIRED TO 
START SKATING, 
WHICH GIVES OUR 
INDUSTRY MORE 
LEGITIMACY" 




w m — 



TONY HAWK, 
PROFESSIONAL SKATER 




052 games™ 




TONY HAWK'S UNDERGROUND 



HbZ/IVIULIII-UKIVIAI 



CONSULTANT PROFILE 

■ Born 1968 in San Diego, legendary skater Tony Hawk turned pro at the age of 14 and won countless 
competitions during an illustrious career. Since retiring from the sport, numerous endorsements and an 
appearance in The Simpsons? 300th episode have cemented his place on the celebrity A-list. 



HISTORY 

I TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 4 2002 [Multi] 
I TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 3 2001 [Multi] 
I TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER 1999 [Multi] 



TONY HAWK RETURNS WITH SOME MAJOR NEW TRICKS UP HIS SLEEVE 



HWhen we reviewed the fantastic 
fourth instalment of the Pro Skater 
series in issue 1, we were left wondering 
what on earth Neversoft could come up 
with to take the franchise any further. After 
each of Tony's previous outings 
successfully brought enough new ideas to 
the table to prove themselves as worthy 
sequels, surely last year's display of 
elephant skitching finally saw the concept 
stretched as far as it would go. But 
determined not to close the book on the 
immensely lucrative series just yet, how 
would those innovative developers deliver 
another slice of kick-flipping action without 
disappointing the fans? 

Fully aware that simply slapping a few 
new manoeuvres, locations and missions 
onto the end of Pro Skater 4 wouldn't cut it, 
the series has been subjected to a 
complete conceptual overhaul. Whilst the 
winning gameplay formula remains firmly 
at the heart of Tony Hawk's Underground, 
an entirely fresh approach looks set to take 
the genre to ambitious new heights. Rather 
than starting out as a recognisable figure 
from the skating world, THUG invites you 
to take the role of your virtual self and 
begin a thoroughly immersing journey 
from humble beginnings to the top of the 
pro skating pile. 

Taking inspiration from the rags to riches 
stories of real-life professionals, you'll step 
into the tattered sneakers of a talented 



youngster tick-tack-toeing their way around 
a typical New Jersey neighbourhood. While 
free-roaming your way around the mean 
streets you'll encounter a variety of 
characters dishing out missions to put your 
boarding skills to the test. Basically your 
initial goal will be to strut your stuff around 
the 'hood in the hope of being 'discovered' 
by the right people and whisked off to the 
West Coast pro scene. 

There are set to be nine expansive 
locations to fully explore as your career 
progresses, each comprising a living virtual 
city complete with day and night cycles. In 
a move to emulate the kind of wholesome 
gaming experience found in GTA3, your 
character will be able to take full advantage 
of these massive environments by 
stepping off the skateboard for the first 
time and exploring on foot. One of the 
most hotly anticipated features of THUG, 
this freedom looks set to add a completely 
new dimension to proceedings whilst 
granting players unrestricted access to 
those nooks and crannies they wouldn't be 
able to reach on a board. 

Expect to see your character clambering 
up to the rooftops and hanging from 
telegraph wires in true action adventure 
style, all in the name of lining up that 
ultimate string of combos. The skating 
action is broken up even further by putting 
players behind the wheel of a car in a 
number of missions, and rumours are rife 



about the variety of driveable vehicles 
being included in the final game. 

The whole idea seems to bear more 
than a passing resemblance to the winning 
concept behind Rockstar's aforementioned 
crime sim, padding out the mission-based 
skating tasks with a freely navigable city 
and engaging storyline to immerse us in 
much more than a linear collection of 
objectives. And with all-new difficulty 
settings ensuring experienced players and 
intrigued newcomers receive an equally 
warm welcome, we're expecting 
THUG to take the gaming world's 
premier skating sim to a new level. 



FORMAT: PS2, Xbox, 

GameCube, GBA 

ORIGIN: US 

PUBLISHER: 

Activision 

DEVELOPER: 

Neversoft 

RELEASE: 

7 November '03 

GENRE: Sports 

PLAYERS: 1-8 Online 

■ The Tony Hawk 
series takes freedom 
to another level with 
its in-depth and 
innovative fifth 
outing. How can it 
get better than this? 



STAR OF THE SHOW 

For the ultimate personalised gaming experience, 
THUG not only lets you map your digital mugshot 
onto your character via IMeversoft's automated online 
system, but also allows you to create trademark tricks. 
By blending elements of existing manoeuvres with a 
few rotations and some positional tweaking, the 
ultimate high-scoring piece of trickery can be designed 
and configured to the controller ready for use. This 
feature also enables you to trim your favourite preset 
moves to merge more seamlessly during combos. 
With your own face on a character performing your 
unique set of tricks for all the online community to see, 
you really can become a boarding legend. 

TAKE YOUR VIRTUAL SELF FROM 
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO THE 
TOP OF THE PRO SKATING PILE" 




games™ 053 



PREVIEW I KIRBY'S AIR RIDE I GAMECUBE 




ONE-BUTTON KIRBY HOPES THAT SIMPLE CAN ALSO BE EFFECTIVE 



| 



FORMAT: GameCube 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: 

HAL Laboratory 
DEVELOPER: 
Nintendo 
RELEASE: Q1 '04 
(Japan: Out now) 
GENRE: Racing 
PLAYERS: 1-4 

Nintendo's fat, 
pinkfurball hops on 
a star and competes 
against three other 
riders in this simple 
but cute racer. 



P 



The idea of popular game characters 
taking to the racetrack is nothing 
new, as we've seen Mario, Crash 
Bandicoot and Sonic hit the road in their 
own racing games in the past. However, 
where Kirby Air Ride takes a left turn 
instead of following the pack is that 
everything - and we mean everything - is 
controlled by one button. 

Given that most modern racing games 
are multi-button behemoths, this comes as 
something of a surprise - however, once 
you start taking Kirby around the twisty 
tracks, this peculiar idea starts to make 
sense. Essentially, there's no accelerator as 



'WITH ITS SINGLE-BUTTON 
GAMEPLAY, THIS IS A VERY 
ACCESSIBLE RACING GAME' 



Kirby zips around on his own, meaning you 
have to use the A-button to brake. The same 
button also boosts Kirby when released 
depending on how long you hold it down, 
which means you need to develop a unique 
technique for turning corners. It's also this 
button that sucks up any nearby power-ups, 
ranging from Tornados to Electricity Blasts. 
And once you've got a power-up? Press the 
A-button to use it. It's a refreshingly simple 
system that makes the game easy to pick up 
and play without the need to wade through 
instructions or use trial and error to find out 
what the buttons do. 

It's not just the single-button innovation 
that sticks out either, because Air Ride drips 
with colour and charm, making the 
aesthetics equally notable. All the riders 
look typically vibrant and bubbly, and the 
music is lively without being intrusive. The 



courses are also impressive and well- 
designed, with multiple obstacles and 
short cuts to ensure they stay interesting - 
however, things are kept as simple and fun 
as possible, with Kirby bouncing back into 
play rather than falling off the track should 
a turn go wrong. Unfortunately, it makes 
this a little too easy to play, as it's just as 
easy to bounce from wall to wall to the 
finish line as it is to take corners properly. 

From what we've played, our main 
concern is that the 'pick up and play' ethos 
has been taken too far, sacrificing depth 
and control for accessibility. A plethora of 
unlockable extras are included, but the 
option to accelerate by ourselves would 
have been just as welcome. Will European 
gamers take to the simplified 
gameplay? We'll have a better idea 
nearer the game's release next year. 





054 games™ 



PREVIEW I JEDI KNIGHT: JEDI ACADEMY I PC/MULTIFORMAT 

JEDI KNIGHT: 
JEDI ACADEMY 



CAN RAVEN STAY ON TARGET WITH THE JEDI KNIGHT SERIES? 



Since last year's Jedi Outcast 
proved to be a rare success story 
for the galaxy's most prestigious movie 
franchise, it's no surprise to see another 
addition to the Saber-swirling series, 
timed to hit the shelves alongside 
LucasArts' imminent influx of Star Wars 
titles. The latest instalment, Jedi Knight: 
Jedi Academy, sees hero of previous 
outings Kyle Katarn handing over the reins 
to a gifted young apprentice, and looks to 
provide players with their most thrilling 
taste of Jedi life to date. 

Fulfilling the childhood dream of 
millions worldwide, gamers are invited to 
enrol in Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy to 
master the ways of the Force in the hope 
of taking their place among a new batch of 
Jedi Knights. As there are scarcely enough 
fully-fledged Jedi to maintain order around 
the galaxy, however, you can expect a 
rather hands-on approach to your training. 
Shortly after arriving at the Academy you'll 
be out on your first mission, and before 
long you'll be playing a vital role in 
uncovering the sinister intentions of an 
ancient Sith cult. 

Before embarking on the action, you'll 
be able to fully customise your character's 
appearance (right down to the hilt on their 
Lightsaber, no less), and as the game 
progresses an RPG-style level-up system 
allows you to continuously shape their 
development. By learning different fighting 



styles, upgrading Sabers and choosing to 
acquire Dark or Light Force powers, you're 
extended a good amount of leeway as to 
how your character evolves. 

Since the game takes place shortly after 
the events depicted in the original Star 
Wars trilogy, you can expect to come across 
some familiar faces, vehicles and locales 
from the saga's 'golden era'. Missions take 
place across a wider assortment of 
locations than before and feature enough 
task variation to keep the life of a budding 
Champion of the Force interesting. One 
scenario might place you at the helm of a 
Speeder Bike, whilst the next sees you 
stripped of your precious Lightsaber and 
forces you to battle through the mission 
purely as a first-person shoot-'em-up. Also, 
in a bid to prevent players quickly reaching 
a dead end this time around, you're now 
able to pick and choose from a selection of 
available missions and even skip over 
certain troublesome errands entirely. 

Aside from all the new trimmings, the 
undisputed star of the show continues to be 
the Lightsaber. A good deal of polish has 
obviously gone into perfecting the Saber 
combat dynamics and has made the Jedi 
weapon of choice an absolute joy to wield. 
We could almost feel the Force flowing 
through us as we elegantly carved our way 
through the helpless legions of adversaries 
that foolishly stood in our path. Most 
notably, the ability to carry two Sabers in 



battle and the inclusion of the mighty twin- 
headed model throws a whole new 
repertoire of slick manoeuvres into the mix, 
allowing players to recreate the dazzling 
Jedi duels seen in the prequel movies. 

Whether dodging and slicing our way 
through the obligatory complement of 
Stormtroopers and Bounty Hunters, or 
taking on fellow Saber-wielding Jedi in a 
battle of wits, the enhanced combat 
gameplay made the preview code a real 
struggle to put down. The Force is definitely 
strong with this one, and any wannabe Jedi 
should be in for a treat when 
LucasArts unleashes the finished 
version in the coming weeks. 



FORMAT: PC, Xbox 
ORIGIN: US 
PUBLISHER: 

LucasArts/Activision 
DEVELOPER: 
Raven Software 
RELEASE: PC: Sept 
'03, Xbox: Nov '03 
GENRE: Action 
Adventure 
PLAYERS: 1 
(1-16 online) 

■ Enrol in Luke 
Skywalker's academy 
for budding Jedi and 
embark on another 
Saber-swinging 
adventure across the 
Star Wars universe. 



BEGUN THE WEB WAR HAS. . . 

Once again players are able to challenge fellow Jedi 
from across the gaming galaxy through a series of 
online multiplayer modes, and Xbox Live gamers will 
be pleased to hear that they're invited to the online 
party this time. You can create your own Jedi or 
select from a range of recognisable characters from 
the Star Wars universe, kitting them out with the 
Lightsaber of your choice. Six modes of play await - 
each with customisable rules for the use of Jedi 
powers - and vary from the standard 16-player 
Deathmatch to a two-on-one Power Duel inspired by 
those final confrontations from Episodes I and //. 

THE LIGHTSABER COMBAT 
DYNAMICS MAKE THE JEDI 
WEAPON A JOY TO WIELD" 



^B i r 


1 ■ During your adventures you'll bump into a 
1 number of Saber-wielding adversaries who'll 1 
1 require some cunning swordsmanship to beat 1 




















jflr ^^tafl 








L ^r ^.^^^m^ " i I^^ES^^i 


^Hfeu 








^> 












H^^ ^^VjH J 




■? v^b^^ ^v£ 


jp 1^. j^^^^^I 




nm W^mTf 




I** s 





056 games™ 



JEDI KNIGHT: JEDI ACADEMY 



PC/M ULTIFORIVI AT 




COMPANY PROFILE 



HISTORY 



■ Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Raven Software has been developing games since work began on the 
Amiga RPG Black Crypt back in 1988. Working closely with master FPS creator id, the team went on to 
enjoy huge success with the likes of Heretic and Hexen using the versatile Doom engine. 



■ JEDI KNIGHT II: JEDI OUTCAST 2002 [PC, Xbox] 

■ SOLDIER OF FORTUNE 2001 [PC] 

■ HERETIC 1994 [PC] 



games™ 057 



PREVIEW I MANHUNT I PLAYSTATI0N2 



MANHUNT 




060 games™ 



MANHUNT 

PLAYSTATION2 




COMPANY PROFILE 



■ Originally starting life as DMA Design before it invented the Grand Theft Auto franchise in its original 
top-down form, Rockstar North is now part of the Rockstar Games empire, which has development 
houses in locations such as Toronto, Vienna and San Diego in addition to North's Edinburgh studios. 



HISTORY 

■ GTA3 2001 [PlayStation^ 

■ GRAND THEFT AUTO 1999 [PSone] 

■ LEMMINGS 1990 [Amiga] 







ROCKSTAR SAYS DON'T HUNT WHAT YOU CANT KILL. 



Rlf there's one game that's captured 
popular attention on PS2 in the last 
year, it's GTA: Vice City- that's why we 
were more than interested to find out 
more about the latest game from the 
same developers, Rockstar North. We 
knew that it was a darker, more mature 
game than the last GTA offering, but 
Rockstar Games has been curiously tight- 
lipped regarding their big hope for 
Christmas 2003. Until now, that is. 

Manhunt is a stealth-based third-person 
action adventure game built around a 
premise worthy of a Schwarzenegger 
movie - indeed, Rockstar Games admits 
that films have been a source of 
inspiration, citing 8MM, Jacob's Ladder 
and Marathon Man among its influences. 
You play James Earl Cash, a convict facing 
the death penalty by lethal injection, who 
has been saved from his fate by a shady 
figure known only as The Director. This is 
no selfless act, however, as he places you 



HORSE AND HOUNDS 

Described by Rockstar Games as a brutal future sport, 
the premise behind Manhunt reminds us of the movie 
The Running Man. Since sport means competition, 
you'll have to face a series of opponents, and here 
they're called The Hunters. These men may be paid by 
The Director or even blackmailed into taking part, but 
whatever their motivation, their objective remains the 
same: to kill you. The Hunters come in seven guises, the 
most distinctive of which has to be The Smileys. Their 
brightly painted faces are unnerving, to say the least. . . 



FORMAT: 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN: UK 
PUBLISHER: 
Rockstar Games 
DEVELOPER: 
Rockstar North 
RELEASE: 
November '03 
GENRE: 

Action/Adventure 
PLAYERS: 1 

■ Get ready for what 
Rockstar promises to 
be its most 
disturbing game yet. 
And no, we don't 
mean that in a State 
Of Emergency kind 
of way. 



in a series of 20 violent scenes where you 
must kill or be killed under the ever-present 
eye of the cameras he has placed around 
the levels. Basically, The Director wants to 
film the ultimate collection of snuff movies 
- all with you as the star. (Yes, Manhunt 
will carry an 18 rating when it's released.) 

Set in disused urban environments such 
as shopping malls and prisons around an 
industrial rustbelt town, each area will be 
populated by one of seven street gangs of 
Hunters - people whose only objective is 
to kill you before you kill them. It isn't as 
simple as running in with your shotgun 
blasting, however. Cash will be able to 
carry three weapons - from a shard of 
glass to a shotgun, via crowbars or 
blackjack clubs - and the weapons on offer 
in any scene should have great impact on 
the pace of that level. Although there will 
be sections where gunplay features 
heavily, the emphasis seems to be firmly 
on hiding in the shadows and waiting for 
the right moment to present itself. 

Using the on-screen 'audio radar' you 
can see where every moving Hunter is 
located, as well as the direction they are 
facing and their state of alert. This allows 
you to plan your attack in advance to 
minimise the risk of entering into hand-to- 
hand combat. You'll also have the ability to 
glance around corners without giving 
yourself away before moving in for the kill. 

In the same way you use sound to 



detect the Hunters, any noise you make 
will let them know exactly where you are. 
Even running across gravel could let a 
waiting gang member know that you are 
about to come around the corner. Far 
better to check the radar, creep up slowly 
and jump them from behind. You'll see 
each street assassination as if watching 
The Director's footage, as the display cuts 
away from the in-game screen to look 
through the lens of one of his cameras. 
Although this is a great concept, it does 
offer some cause for concern, as control is 
removed from the player at exactly the 
moment you are expecting to perform a 
key action. It seems a shame that with such 
an atmospheric game, the player is denied 
any real involvement at these moments. 

Regardless of this, Manhunt neatly 
sidesteps any suspicion of being a GTA 
clone and gets on with its own agenda of 
grown-up gaming. If the full game 
measures up to the depth of atmosphere 
and well thought out levels we have 
seen to date, then Manhunt looks 
set to be very interesting indeed. 

"MANHUNT NEATLY 
SIDESTEPS ANY 
ACCUSATIONS OF 
BEING A GRAND 
THEFT AUTO CLONE" 



games™ 061 



PREVIEW I HIDDEN AND DANGEROUS 2 I PC 



HIDDEN AND 
NGERQUS 




VENTURE BEHIND ENEMY LINES ARMED TO THE TEETH WITH STRATEGIC POSSIBILITIES. 



FORMAT: PC 
ORIGIN: 

Czech Republic 
PUBUSHER: 
Gathering 
DEVELOPER: 
Illusion Softworks 
RELEASE: Q4 03 
GENRE: 
Action/Strategy 
PLAYERS: 1 
(Up to 32 online) 

■ Take complete 
tactical control over 
your squad from any 
perspective you like 
in arguably the most 
captivating addition 
to the genre yet. 



I There was certainly a lot to like 
about the original Hidden And 
Dangerous, but for many the title's 
technical instability and distinctly flawed 
Al crippled the gaming experience beyond 
repair. Thankfully, Czech-based developer 
Illusion Softworks has spent the last four 
years ensuring the long-awaited sequel will 
not only address the problems that 
obscured much of the first game's 
undeniable quality, but should also take the 
squad-based genre to dizzy new heights. 

A great deal of the fluid gameplay 
dynamics and impressive visuals can be 
attributed to an enhanced incarnation of the 
LS3D engine that helped earn gangster epic 
Mafia such deserved praise. The engine's 
versatility also allows for the ambitiously 
varied gameplay styles that look set to 
make H&D2a mouth-watering prospect for 
such a broad cross-section of gamers. 



ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH? 

Hidden And Dangerous 2 is a real stickler for detail, and 
the high levels of authenticity adorning every aspect of 
play put you firmly in the boots of an SAS commando. 
Although this realism can make your characters' lives 
more difficult in terms of damage severity and carrying 
capacity, for the most part it adds a great feeling of 
quality to the game. In the stealth sections, for instance, 
the razor-sharp Al demonstrates all the awareness 
found in the likes of Hitman 2, but simply stealing a 
dead soldier's uniform won't fool the enemy if it's 
riddled with bullet holes and soaked in claret, or if 
you've still got a British weapon in your hands. 



Whether you're a fan of real-time 
strategy wishing to orchestrate your troops 
around the battlefield from above, prefer 
the more traditional third-person role of 
squad commander, or even if you're simply 
an FPS aficionado after anything from an 
all-action fix to a taxing stealth-based 
challenge - strangely enough this game is 
for you. Yet, unlike so many other titles that 
try to offer all things to everyone, each of 
the game's diverse elements is presented 
with consummate depth and quality. Even 
the obligatory vehicle driving sections don't 
see these high standards slip. 

Illusion has attempted to make each of 
the 23 missions as varied as possible, 
starting with the variety of surroundings in 
which these take place. Staged in just 
about every imaginable World War II 
setting, players will find themselves 
operating in barren deserts, arctic tundra, 
lush jungles, scenic mountain ranges and 
ravaged city streets, as well as in a range of 
indoor locales. You'll mostly be leading a 
hand-picked group of four elite SAS 
commandos (although several missions 
will require just one operative) who can be 
controlled using any combination of the 
several interfaces on offer. 

Perhaps the most useful of these is the 



Tactical mode, which freezes the action 
allowing you to pan out and fully assess 
the situation. Your squad members can 
then each be set a series of waypoints, 
complete with detailed instructions as to 
how they are to behave both en route and 
upon reaching these locations. Ideal for 
putting together a considered strategic 
approach and for allowing beginners to 
familiarise themselves with the 
commands, players can then set time 
running and either watch their bidding 
being carried out or jump back into the 
action as one of the team from either a 
first- or third-person perspective. Detailed 
commands can then be issued from this 
more hands-on viewpoint to all those in 
earshot of your character, ensuring every 
member of your squad is always behaving 
exactly as you intend. 

The beauty of the game's immense 
strategic depth is that players can delve 
beneath the surface to whatever level they 
wish. After spending some quality time 
with the latest build we were blown away 
by H&DZs phenomenal scope and 
potential breadth of appeal. Those willing 
to invest the time and fully explore 
the tactical possibilities look set to 
be heavily rewarded. 



'WE WERE BLOWN AWAY BY H&D2'S 
PHENOMENAL SCOPE AND POTENTIAL 
BREADTH OF APPEAL" 



062 games™ 



HIDDEN AND DANGEROUS 2 



PC 



DEVELOPER PROFILE 



■ Petr Vochozka began developing computer games for the Amiga and PC at the age of 16 and went on to 
found Illusion Softworks in 1997. The studio formed a close relationship with publisher Take 2 and enjoyed huge 
success with Hidden And Dangerous and Mafia. 



HISTORY 

■ MAFIA 2002 [PC] 

■ FLYING HEROES 2000 [PC] 
HIDDEN AND DANGEROUS 1999 [PC] 




games™ 063 



PREVIEW I NBA JAM I PLAYSTATI0N2/MULTIF0RMAT 



lAJAM 




OR WOULD YOU PREFER A GOOD CHUNKY MARMALADE INSTEAD? 



nAh, nostalgia - nothing beats 
looking back at your past and 
picking out the best bits. In terms of sports 
games, we'd probably have to highlight 
playing NBA Jam on the SNES; for 
blistering basketball action with your 
mates (usually involving lots of shouting), 
it simply couldn't be beaten. Of course, the 
SNES games were basically ports of the 
Midway arcade titles, which were really 
rather good. But since Midway turned the 
licence over to Acclaim, the games have 
been on a slippery downward slope. 

Thankfully, it looks like Acclaim has 
learnt a few lessons since the dog-awful 
NBA Jam titles on the Saturn, PSone and 
N64 - the latest game in the series goes 
back to its Midway roots and tries to 
reclaim the classic gameplay in the 
process. The results so far appear to be 
relatively successful and are certainly quite 
a lot of fun to play, at least in terms of 
recapturing the essence of what made the 
original so enjoyable. 

In case you don't already know, NBA 
Jam falls slap in the middle of the 
arcade/realism divide -while it retains all 
the basketball aesthetics that games like 
NBA Street 2 have shunned (like proper 
sports kit, real indoor arenas and a very 
small handful of rules), it still focuses on 
arcade-style action. Essentially, what this 



'THIS IS ONE FOR 
PEOPLE WHO WANT 
THE FEEL OF 
BASKETBALL BUT 
DONT CARE MUCH 
FOR THE RULES" 



means is that it's a cut-down version of the 
sport with as much over-the-top action as 
Acclaim could squeeze into it; and with 
three players to a team, small courts and a 
massive range of excessive dunks, you're 
guaranteed a fast-paced game every time. 
Not surprisingly, a return to the series' 
roots means that while the graphics have 
been suitably improved, everything is 
pretty much as it was in the original arcade 
games -from setting your players 'on fire' 
and shoving the opposition on its arse to 



having the same commentator. There are, 
however, some additions too, such as the 
Jam meter (which builds up to reveal your 
team's high-scoring 'sweet spot' on court) 
and a Legends tournament that allows you 
unlock the great bailers of old, plus the 
opportunity to create your own players. 

This kick in the pants is exactly what the 
series needed and we just hope that in a 
time where NBA Street 2 rules the 
roost, it's not just going to be old- 
school gamers who'll be jammin'... 



FORMAT: PS2, Xbox, 
GameCube 
ORIGIN: US 
PUBLISHER: Acclaim 
DEVELOPER: 
Acclaim Studios 
Austin 
RELEASE: 
November '03 
GENRE: Sports 
PLAYERS: 1-4 

■ Acclaim returns 
again with an update 
of the classic NBA 
Jam series, but can 
it still play with the 
big boys? 




066 games™ 



PREVIEW I STALKER: OBLIVION LOST I PC 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: 
QB L MQN L OST 




068 games™ 



S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: OBLIVION LOST 



PC 



COMPANY PROFILE 



I Formed in 1995, it wasn't until two years later that Ukraine-based GSC Game World came around to its true 
|. With a growing and respectable PC catalogue to its name, the firm is looking for a game to raise its profile 
i it could well have found it in S.T.A.LK.E.R. 



HISTORY 




I COSSACKS: ART OF WAR 2002 [PC] 
I CODENAME OUTBREAK 2001 [PC] 
COSSACKS: EUROPEAN WARS 2001 [PC] 



NUCLEAR DISASTERS AREN'T ALL BAD, Y'KNOW. 



FORMAT: PC 
ORIGIN: Ukraine 
PUBLISHER: THQ 
DEVELOPER: 

GSC Game World 
RELEASE: Q1 '04 
GENRE: FPS 
PLAYERS: 1-TBC 

■ A first-person 
shooter from a 
relatively unknown 
source isn't usually 
cause for celebration, 
but this free-roaming 
post-nuclear effort 
certainly stands 
out from the 
crowd. And no, it's 
not just mutated... 



Despite being mostly lethal, radiation 
has something of a reputation for 
making the impossible, well, possible. 

From countless Hollywood appearances to 
its birthing of half of the Marvel universe in 
one way or another, the media has 
glamorised the nuclear threat. And while 
most of us are in no direct danger from it, 
there are plenty out there who know the 
fear first-hand. As games like Fallout have 
proved, this fear both of the impending 
threat and aftermath can make for a great 
game setting as well as presenting true 
suspense and some unique enemies that 
are able to bend the rules a little. 

Much of the literature regarding 
S.T.A.LK.E.R. makes constant reference to 
an area called the Zone -this is the area 
surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power 
plant where a large-scale accident has 



FREE FOR ALL 

Arguably S.T.ALK.E.R.'s biggest selling 
point is that the player is free to explore 
the surroundings of Chernobyl at their 
leisure. Even from these screens you can 
pick out areas where this freedom would 
come into its own. The promise also 
remains that all the while the game's 
story will be driven forward depending on 
the player's actions until you eventually 
end up with one of eight unique finales. 
We're particularly looking forward to the 
Toxic Crusader ending. . . 




occurred six years prior to the start of the 
game. Naturally, this area is quickly 
cordoned off but the authorities are 
powerless to stop the adventurers 
determined to retrieve any items imbued 
with strange properties. You take the role 
of one such raider, overcoming the 
resistance of military and mutants alike to 
stake your claim on the unknown wealth 
that lies in the restricted area. Suffice to say 
that it's not only the inanimate things that 
have been changed by the fallout... 

Using the X-Ray engine, GSC has 
managed to achieve a much more natural 
look than in many shooters, particularly 
with its external areas which employ 
realistic foliage and weather effects to 
spectacular effect. Trees and grass 
impress far more than the cardboard cut- 
outs and flat green textures we're all too 
used to from less ambitious titles, and the 
sheer fact that each of these actually 
serves a purpose as well as looking pretty 
(the game's wildlife makes its home 
just about anywhere) just makes it even 
more impressive. Although it probably 
won't come on that much further, we're 
really looking forward to seeing just how 
good the finished article will look on a 
monster PC. 

The real ace up S.T.A.LK.E.R.'s sleeve is 
its freedom -with 30 square kilometres of 
the nuclear aftermath rendered and given 



life (both natural and otherwise), you'll 
have your work cut out scouring the entire 
area. GSC is keen to push the benefits of 
the life simulation system too, so this 
huge expanse will be populated by 
countless animals as well as less natural 
creatures, all of which will have their own 
agendas and intelligence which can be 
plainly seen even at this early stage. None 
of it is just for show, either - if you fear that 
some of the little critters may be 
contaminated or you just plain don't like 
them, the many firearms you'll stumble 
across can be used to terminate the little 
(and not so little) guys. 

The FPS genre is undeniably crowded 
and tough to break into, but we've been 
impressed with every aspect of 
S.T.ALK.E.R. so far. With its dreams of 
being the next big thing and a surprising 
amount of innovation and attention to 
detail, GSC is clearly going all out to give 
the PC market something to look 
forward to when the Half-Life 2 
frenzy has died down. 

"GSC HAS MANAGED 
TO ACHIEVE A MUCH 
MORE NATURAL 
LOOK THAN IN 
MANY SHOOTERS" 




games™ 069 



PREVIEW I KILLZONE I PLAYSTATION2 





HALO SCHMALO - SONY ATTEMPTS TO TAKE THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL 



FORMAT: 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN: Netherlands 
PUBLISHER: SCEE 
DEVELOPER: 
Guerilla Studios 
RELEASE: Q3 04 
GENRE: FPS 
PLAYERS: 1 
(MultiplayerTBA) 

■ The trump card up 
Sony's sleeve relies 
on intense action, 
team-work and 
frantic gunplay to 
deliver the goods. 



Rlt used to be known as Kin, Sony 
has touted it as a Halo beater and 
it's been kept under wraps away from 
prying eyes. But finally, Guerilla Studios 
has relented and allowed the world a peek 
under the covers of its first ever project - a 
team FPS that's been in the works for 
nearly two years. 

Essentially a story of interplanetary war, 
you play four soldiers trying to protect 
Earth from the militaristic Helg hast forces 
after a bomb attack on a human colony. 
Control is restricted to one member of the 



squad while the remainder of the team is 
Al-driven, retreating from fire if they take 
heavy damage but battling alongside you 
whenever possible. The soldiers all have 
different attributes with one being skilled at 
stealth and sniping, one being a 
commando type that can handle heavy 
weaponry and so on. You'll face different 
challenges and experiences depending on 
which character you pick, so the incentive 
is there to play through the game again. 
The plot may sound more camp sci-fi 
than all-out war, but plasma guns and 



■ The jungle settings are reminiscent of 
Vietnam, except the war is now between 
the Earth-loyal ISA and the Helghast. 




aliens are nowhere to be seen. Guerilla has 
eschewed a futuristic theme and turned 
instead to real-life conflicts such as the 
battle of the Somme and Vietnam, keeping 
Killzone gritty and realistic. The in-game 
artillery reinforces this view, with 21 
weapons available including grenades, 
rocket launchers and mini-guns. Set pieces 
such as collapsing bridges and enemies 
dropping in from helicopters are strewn 
throughout the game, so it feels as though 
you've been thrown into the middle of a 
chaotic war. What this all adds up to is a 
game that's high on action but requires 
some tactical thought, as well as using 
your team-mates to full advantage. Not 
surprisingly, Killzone will also ship with an 
online mode, though Sony's currently 
keeping quiet over what this might feature. 

Obviously, it's still too early to say if 
Killzone will live up to its lofty ambitions - 
there are still some issues to sort out, such 
as the fogging and a sludgy frame rate, 
plus we're too jaded from overly-hyped 
titles in the past to believe anything until 
we've actually sat down and played it 
more thoroughly. Regardless though, Sony 
has high hopes for this game, so you can 
no doubt expect to be hearing a lot 
more about Killzone before it hits 
the shelves next year. 



■ 



'KILLZONE IS USING 
EVERY TRICK FROM 
SET PIECES TO 
CLEVER TEAM Al 
TO RECREATE 
SEAT-OF-YOUR- 
PANTS SKIRMISHES' 



070 games™ 



PREVIEW I JAK II: RENEGADE I PLAYSTATI0N2 




JAK'S GONE ALL TOMMY VERCETTI ON US. 



FORMAT: 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN: US 
PUBLISHER: SCEE 
DEVELOPER: 

Naughty Dog 
RELEASE: Q4 03 
GENRE: 

Platform/Adventure 
PLAYERS: 1 

■ Top-notch platform 
action meets the epic 
Vice City framework 
in Jak and Daxter's 
new genre-blurring 
adventure. 



U After bringing you a look at Naughty 
Dog's incredibly ambitious plans for 
the Jak And Daxter saga back in issue 6, 
we were left intrigued as to how the 
multitude of promised new features would 
come together in the finished game. Well, 
having got hold of a preview version of 
Jak II: Renegade and given it a spin, we 
now have a much better idea of just how 
impressive the duo's latest adventure is 
shaping up to be. 

The game makes an excellent first 
impression thanks to the stunning quality 
of the visuals, tightly knitted together with 
some delightfully smooth animation. 



ALTERED BEAST 

All that Dark Eco has turned the Jak we know and love 
into a different man altogether. He's visibly meaner 
than before and, much like The Hulk, can accumulate 
enough rage to transform into a more destructive alter 
ego. The inclusion of guns also adds a whole new 
dimension to the traditional gameplay, while our hero's 
new attitude makes controlling him a rather different 
experience. Thankfully, Daxter returns as his usual 
hyperactive self and helps keep humour levels up 
amidst the bleaker context by playing the wisecracking 
clown to Jak's deeply troubled straight man. 

"A HOST OF UNORTHODOX 
GAMEPLAY ELEMENTS AND 
DISTINCTLY DARKER THEMES 
DEFY THE GENRE'S TRADITIONS' 



Character models are noticeably cleaner 
than before, but the real attractions are the 
stunningly detailed environments that 
become gorgeously drenched with 
sophisticated lighting effects as the 
dynamic day-to-night cycle ticks by. 

Yet while the elaborate graphical 
revamp helps to set Jak II: Renegade apart 
from the crowd, a host of unorthodox 
gameplay elements and distinctly darker 
themes defy the genre's traditions even 
further. In fact, although we were quick to 
draw parallels between several of the 
game's new features and the Grand Theft 
Auto series, we weren't prepared for just 
how much inspiration Naughty Dog has 
obviously taken from the likes of Vice City. 

While Jak's all-new ability to hijack any 
passing vehicle that takes his fancy or go 
on unprovoked killing sprees around the 
bustling city streets brings to mind the 
exploits of Tommy Vercetti, the 
resemblance doesn't stop there. As with 
Rockstar's crime epic you'll constantly find 
yourself taking care not to arouse any 
unwanted interest from the patrolling 
police while roaming the sprawling city 
streets (between taking missions from your 
various contacts, admiring the shifting 
weather conditions and even wielding a 
devastating arsenal of firearms). 

Fans of the original outing will 
undoubtedly be left wondering how such a 
radical departure from the conventional 



sugar-coated platform recipe came about. 
The opening cut-scene holds all the 
answers as we see Jak being separated 
from his furry orange companion and 
escorted to a secret military research 
facility. Here he remains imprisoned for the 
next two years undergoing all manner of 
experiments until Daxter finally catches up 
with his old pal and stages a daring rescue. 
Unfortunately, Jak has been pumped so 
full of the mysterious Dark Eco that his 
personality is virtually unrecognisable. 
Exacting a bloody vengeance on his 
captors is all he seems to care about, 
hence the far grittier edge to his actions 
and his complete lack of respect for the 
laws of the land. 

It might seem like a strange marriage of 
concepts, but mixing the quality platform 
action of the first game with the ambitious 
framework of Vice City actually builds on 
the basics rather effectively. The various 
gameplay styles Naughty Dog likes to 
combine in its platform titles are gelled 
together into a more wholesome and 
continuous adventure by the seamless 
G77\-style context. Purist platform gamers 
may argue that the game ventures too far 
outside the genre's boundaries, but since 
each element is served with such panache 
and attention to detail the overall 
package should have enough 
quality to make Jak II a deserved 
mainstream hit. 




072 games™ 



JAK II: RENEGADE 

PLAYSTATION2 



■ Despite developing games since the mid Eighties, Naughty Dog had to wait a decade before 
hitting the big time with Sony's flagship PSone platformer, Crash Bandicoot Naughty Dog's first 
PS2 outing, Jak And Daxter, also proved a huge hit and paved the way for an ambitious sequel. 



HISTORY 



I JAK AND DAXTER: THE PRECURSOR LEGACY 2001 [PS2] 
I CRASH BANDICOOT: WARPED 2001 [PSone] 
I CRASH BANDICOOT 1996 [PSone] 




games™ 073 



PREVIEW I PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 3 I PLAYSTATION2 

PRO EVOLUTION 
SOCCER 3 




wmmmmm 

CONTINUING TO EVOLVE THE PES £ 






PR0EV02 REFINEMENT 



EXTRA 
EVERYTHING 




"PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 3 REPRESENTS 

A MAMMOTH STEP FORWARD FOR THE 

SERIES, WITH EVERY ASPECT REWORKED" 



KONAMI PRESS RELEASE 



074 games™ 



PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 3 

PLAYSTATION2 




COMPANY PROFILE 

■ Konami's catalogue is enough to shame many developers and publishers, featuring numerous genre- 
defining titles and some of the most popular current series. Founded way back in 1973, Konami's experience 
within the industry has become increasingly apparent over recent years and continues to make it a key player. 



HISTORY 

■ DANCING STAGE MEGAMIX 2003 [PS2] 

■ AZURE DREAMS 1997 [PSone] 

■ GRADIUS 1998 [NES] 




HOW MUCH MORE EVOLUTION CAN THERE BE? NOT THAT WE'RE ARGUING. 



HWith every instalment in Konami's 
consistently impressive Pro Evolution 
series - from its humble ISS origins to 
recent Winning Eleven glories - we've seen 
an experience rapidly approaching realism 
both visually and in terms of accuracy. The 
series' PS2 exclusivity in the UK has been 
the bane of many a single console owner's 
gaming life, and while we'd kill (no, we 
would) for an Xbox Live version of the 
game, its spiritual home will always be the 
PS2. Somehow the series has managed to 
escape the 'same game, different name' 
branding of many similar titles and there's 
only one reason for this - Konami puts so 
much into this series that each game stands 
up perfectly well as a unique title. 

Unsurprisingly, we've had Winning 
Eleven 7 (Pro Evolution's Eastern sister 
series) since it was unleashed upon Japan 
and it just seems to improve with every 
match - showcasing a level of fluidity and 
style that places it in a league of its own, 
this will probably be the closest the two 
franchises have been yet. From initial 
impressions, many of the issues with PES2 
and WE6have been sorted out and the 
addition of advantage and handball rules, 
as well as some improvements to the 
existing rulebook, has made for a much 
more lifelike re-creation. Even more 
impressively, the oft-forgotten PAL territory 
is getting a special treat with Pro Evo 3- 
Konami has said that the UK version won't 



suffer from the occasional slowdown and 
stuttering of the Japanese version. 
Potentially, we could see the Pro Evolution 
series outdo its Eastern counterpart for the 
first time, something we'd never expected 
but would like to see all the same. 

Despite the fact that this is a series that 
gets regularly updated, Konami still 
manages to add enough new features and 
payability to each follow-up to keep them 
surprisingly fresh. This time around, a 
more complex and managerial Master 
League is one of the best features, but 
better still is the number of smaller 
improvements. The ability to play club 
teams versus nationals, optional manual 
goalkeeping, fixed player assignment 
(which helps prevent large multiplayer 
sessions from getting too scrappy) and 
some properly licensed teams and kits all 
add to the already impressive package but, 
sadly, online play which was hinted at by 
several Japanese previews of the game 
has failed to emerge - a horrible string of 
misunderstandings had us longing for 
something we were never to receive. 

To the untrained eye, Pro Evo 3 may 
seem an awful lot like more of the same 
but, as we've said, you'll really need to 
devote a lot of time and effort to this if 
you're to learn the full extent of its 
augmentation. Fears that the tricks and 
skills would result a turn for the worse in 
terms of gameplay have proved unfounded 



- most of the new moves are simply new 
animations for receiving or playing the ball 
that give the game that much more flair 
and class. This is clearly not a game cursed 
by vanity either, and to say that its 
gameplay matches its appearance would 
be a drastic understatement. 

Of course, most of our experience so far 
has been with the Japanese version of the 
game but our taste of an early PAL version 
has confirmed one thing -this is 
looking like the kind of game that 
will sell consoles. 



FORMAT: 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: Konami 
DEVELOPER: 
In-House 
RELEASE: 
November '03 
GENRE: Sport 
PLAYERS: 18 

■ Konami takes 
football one step 
further as the PES 
series evolves. 



SHOPPING AROUND 

One of the most obvious new additions to the Pro 
Evolution/ Winning Eleven series is the inclusion 
of the Shop - a wonderful place where your hard- 
earned currency can be put to good use buying 
extra kits, players and even teams to make the 
game that much sweeter. Now you'll need to play 
through those cups and leagues more than just 
once if you want access to every unlockable. 
These extras range from the expected (additional 
teams and Master League players) to some 
slightly more bizarre new features - ball trails, 
Edit mode parts and new transfer options all lie in 
wait for the persistent player. 

'PES3 SHOWCASES A LEVEL OF 
FLUIDITY AND STYLE THAT PLACES 
IT IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN" 



games™ 075 



PREVIEW I FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE I GAME BOY ADVANCE 



FINAL FANTASY 




GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT. 



m 



Ever since the mighty Advance Wars 
; joined forces with Game Boys 
across the land, strategy games of all 
shapes and sizes have followed suit in 
migrating to the handheld. A typically 
more sedate genre than today's 
adrenaline-seeking console owner tends to 
buy into, thinking gamers have been 
ushered towards either the crowded PC 
market or the ever-maturing handheld 
scene. The former is more or less a given - 
excellent PC strategy games are far from a 
rarity - but the prospect of being able to 
enjoy games of the same standard on the 
move is certainly enticing. We've tried not 
to be ensnared by the Japanese release of 
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance so as not to 
ruin it for ourselves - save for a few 
moments of wavering resolve, we've done 
well so far, and by the time you read this 
our sanity should have been restored by 
the US release. Praise be. 

First impressions being as important as 
they are, FFTA is extremely fortunate that 
its creators have blessed us with some of 
the prettiest games in recent memory. 
Suffice to say, this will be no exception and 
from the mere fact that these screens 
aren't far removed from Tactics on PSone, 
you know the GBA is being pushed pretty 
hard. In fact, the game will offer three 
display modes to make the most of your 



'FROM WHAT WE'VE 
SEEN, FFTA 
CAPTURES THE FEEL 
AND MAGIC OF THE 
PSONE GAME TO 
A TEE" 



chosen platform, including enhancements 
for when blown-up on a TV screen via a 
Game Boy Player - we can't wait to 
witness the already lush visuals running 
through Nintendo's much-lauded 
connectivity, especially having seen how 
well the more recent GBA titles have fared. 
It certainly won't be without competition 
by the time it arrives over here (Advance 
Wars and Tactics Ogre are already available 
with Onimusha Tactics due shortly, among 
others) but from previous experience and a 



brief encounter with the game at E3, we've 
got a feeling FFTA will be something 
special. Like so much these days it might 
be superficially 'more of the same', but, 
digging deeper, it's the subtleties and detail 
that will set it apart from predecessors and 
rivals alike. Promising a level of 
customisation and depth currently lacking 
from the GBA catalogue, and an epic quest 
to boot, we can see FFTA finding its 
way onto British Game Boys long 
before the official UK release. 



FORMAT: Game 
Boy Advance 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: 
Nintendo 
DEVELOPER: 
Square Enix 
RELEASE: Q4 03 
(Japan/US: Out Now) 
GENRE: RPG 
PLAYERS: 1-2 

■ The follow-up to 
Square's PSone thinker 
arrives on the GBA - 
clearly the place to 
be for turn-based 
strategy games. 





Pd pick "Final 
Fantasy, " That 
my favorite. 



076 games™ 




DONT THROW AWAY THAT LIGHTGUN JUST YET. 



FORMAT: PlayStation2 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: SCEE 
DEVELOPER: Namco 
RELEASE: 
November '03 
GENRE: 
Shoot-'em-up 
PLAYERS: 1-2 

■ Time Crisis 3 gets a 
home console 
makeover, complete 
with all-new modes 
that add much-needed 
longevity to the game. 



"DESPITE BEING 

ALMOST IDENTICAL 

TO THE LAST 

GAME, TIME CRISIS 

3 LOOKS LIKE IT'LL 

DO WELL WHEN IT 

HITS THE SHELVES" 



Rlt had to happen, didn't it? Having 
seen Time Crisis 3 perform fairly 
well in arcades, it doesn't come as much 
of a surprise that the game is set to land 
on the PS2 come the end of the year. If 
you've got a G-Con 2 then this should 
come as good news -you can at least be 
glad there's something else to play now 
besides dodgy Resident Evil blasters 
{Dead Aim excepted, that is). 

Of course, if you read our review of the 
arcade version in issue 3, you'll know what 
we said at the time: "Being an arcade 



game, it's still fun for a quick blast - but we 
doubt we'd say the same thing if this was a 
£40 PS2 title." With a PS2 release now a 
reality, we stick by our word that as the 
arcade game stands, we'd be loath to pay 
full price for it. Still, Namco is doing its best 
to ensure that there is enough replay value 
in the package to command more than five 
minutes of your precious playing time. 

So, what extras will you get for the 
equivalent of 40 credits in your local 
arcade? Quite a lot actually, though you'l 
have to work hard to get your hands on 
any of it. With only five credits available 
from the outset and even the easiest 
difficulty proving a challenge, finishing the 
game isn't going to be easy - but it's the 
only way to unlock any of the extra 
modes (though no doubt Namco has 
ramped up the difficulty as another way of 
increasing the longevity). 

Should you manage to complete the 
game, you'll find the return of the Crisis 
Missions from Time Crisis 2- specific 
objectives that have to be completed within 
a strict time limit - as well as a new mode 
entitled Rescue Mission. It's here that 
Namco has gone out on a limb to 
introduce a new concept to the Time Crisis 
mix, in the form of sniper rifle gameplay; 
think Silent Scope but with Time Crisis 
elements and you'll get the gist. 

While we're not entirely convinced that 
the Time Crisis series has evolved enough 
since last time, there's no denying that the 
PS2 needs a good gun game - and Time 
Crisis 3 is at least fun to play. Let's 
hope G-Con 2 owners feel the same 
way when the game comes out. 




078 games™ 



PREVIEW I PILLAGE I PLAYSTATI0N2/MULTIF0RMAT 



PILLAGE 




WANTED: PUBLISHER FOR STRATEGY ACTION GAME. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY 



FORMAT: PS2, Xbox, 
GameCube, PC 
ORIGIN: UK 
PUBLISHER: 
TBA 

DEVELOPER: 
Zed Two 
RELEASE: TBA 
GENRE: 

Arcade/Strategy 
PLAYERS: 1-4 

■ Strategy action 
with a unique twist - 
Pillage is a game 
that sounds slightly 
odd but plays 
really well. Now if 
only someone 
would consider 
releasing it... 



HGame development is a fickle 
business. With games fanatics 
constantly complaining about the lack of 
original titles being released, and game 
publishers unwilling to take a risk on 
something even slightly different for fear of 
it flopping and losing them money, a 
smaller but more adventurous developer 
like Zed Two is left in a bit of a bind. 
Despite coming up with some great ideas 
for a game, the lack of a publisher leaves it 
floundering before the finish line and, 
unfortunately, that's exactly the situation in 
which Pillage finds itself. 

While you might not be able to tell from 



'PILLAGE SOUNDS A BIT ODD, 
BUT PLAY IT AND YOU WONT BE 
ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN" 



the screenshots, Pillage has a number of 
similarities with Konami's cult classic RPG 
Vandal Hearts and, to a lesser extent, Team 
17's Worms series. Yes, it's a strange 
combination but one that's totally justified; 
with plenty of RPG stylings when it comes 
to enhancing the abilities of your team, and 
a strong focus on turn-based character 
movement and combat, Pillage has several 
strings to its bow. The problem is, it's the 
kind of game that most people would 
ignore if told about it - it's only once you sit 
down and play it that you stand any 
chance of the penny actually dropping. 
The story of the game - mysterious 
monsters with a strange regenerative 
power descend on an innocent land, and 
only you can stop them - serves only as a 
precursor to the turn-based action. As hero 
Low, it's your job to lead a team of two to 



five people across 19 different stages, 
although your objectives change 
depending on the situation; you might 
have to reach a certain location within a 
stage, defend a stronghold from invading 
armies or destroy all the monsters before 
the time limit runs out. How you do it, 
though, remains a constant - you can 
perform a combination of moves and 
attacks with each of your team-mates in 
any one turn, before leaving them in one 
of three states (Heal, Defend or Neutral) 
and watching the enemy retaliate. 

Like we said, it's a lot like Worms- only 
with a point to it. It's also great fun, which 
is exactly what you want from a game. Of 
course, whether you'll actually get to try it 
for yourself all depends on a plucky 
publisher stepping forward. Let's 
hope someone's feeling brave. 




080 games™ 



PREVIEW I TOP SPIN I XBOX 










PIN 






BETTER THAN VIRTUA TENNIS? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. 



II 



Ifs over 30 years since Pong first 



made us realise that tennis made for 
an immensely entertaining videogame 
concept. And from what we've played of 
Microsoft's forthcoming addition to the 
genre it's a sport that can still deliver some 
of the most addictive gaming around. 
Developer Power And Magic has got 
plenty of tricks up its sleeve to help it 
dislodge reigning champ Virtua Tennis 
from the top spot in the rankings. 

"We really wanted to shoot at total 
realism in terms of the visuals," explains 
Top Spin's production director, Stephane 
Dupas. "We invested a lot of time 
developing the technology to ensure we 
had enough textural effects to make hair 
look different to skin, and enough 
polygons to have a fully motion-captured 
3D crowd - it was important to us that 
everything looked just like the real thing." 

Motion capture sessions with the likes of 
Lleyton Hewitt, and many gruelling hours 
studying photos of Anna Kournikova have 
made Top Spin an incredible visual 
spectacle, but don't expect such unrivalled 
realism to carry over into the gameplay. 
"Despite the fact it's so visually realistic, we 
never wanted to do a complex simulation 
of tennis," says Dupas. "Our game was 
always meant to be accessible to an 
audience larger than just tennis fans, so we 
tried to find a balance between simulation 
visuals and arcade-style gameplay." 



In fact, the core gameplay dynamics are 
among the most instantly accessible we've 
ever witnessed, with a clear focus on 
delivering exciting rallies rather than 
replicating the inherent difficulty of the 
sport. Yet Dupas emphasises Top Spin's 
efforts to pull off such an arcade style 
without producing an overly shallow affair. 
"We felt a lot of frustration with the recent 
tennis games," he says. "Virtua Tennis, for 
example, is a brilliant game - very easy to 
pick up, tremendous gameplay, gorgeous 
graphics and nice animation - but after five 
hours we got really, really bored of it. 
Firstly, the actions you can perform are far 
too limited -tennis is all about surprising 
your opponent by performing a shot that's 
not expected, and with only the D-pad and 
one button it's very difficult to create all of 
the situations we wanted. With Top Spin all 
the buttons of the pad are used". 

While beginners can instantly enjoy 
some exhilarating rallies and leave feeling 
like experts in no time, a couple of 
embarrassing whitewashes at the hands of 
Dupas himself painfully illustrates the 
amount of potential gameplay depth to be 
mastered. For instance, an important 
feature of more advanced contests is the 
intriguing 'In The Zone' meter- a product of 
the in-depth consultations with coaches and 
professional players who emphasised the 
psychological nature of the sport. "Basically, 
the better you play, the ibetteryou'll play," 



says Dupas. "Winning points, especially 
when using risky shots, will eventually put 
your player 'in the zone'. Tennis is very 
much a psychological game, so when 
you're focussed and on top of your game 
more things seem to fall for you." 

While Microsoft is quite rightly touting 
the massive potential for Top Spin to 
become an online phenomenon, a detailed 
Career mode ensures players who can't go 
Live certainly won't be short-changed. It 
might only be 75 per cent complete, 
but this is already shaping up to be 
one of the all-time tennis greats. 



FORMAT: Xbox 
ORIGIN: France 
PUBLISHER: 

Microsoft 
DEVELOPER: 

Power And Magic 
RELEASE: 
November '03 
GENRE: Sports 
PLAYERS: 1-4 
(Live compatible) 

■ Total visual realism 
meets thrilling 
arcade gameplay as 
the age-old tennis 
genre gets updated. 



'SIM NOSE JOB' 

There's a rather odd selection of 16 meticulously 
modelled pros to choose from along with 16 fictional 
players, and a further 200 characters from the game's 
Career mode can be accessed via a random selector. Yet 
in a bid to give everyone a unique identity for their on- 
and offline career, the Player Creator interface allows for 
an incredible degree of customisation. Almost a plastic 
surgery mini-game in itself, every imaginable contour of 
the face can be manipulated to your requirements. The 
level of detail may seem like overkill, but more than 60 
close-up animations can be performed to express 
emotions between points, further shaping your player's 
image as a whiner or someone who likes to rub their 
opponent's nose in defeat. 

TOP SPIN IS ALREADY SHAPING 
UP TO BE ONE OF THE ALL-TIME 
TENNIS GREATS" 




082 games™ 



TOP SPIN 




CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE 



HISTORY 



■ Though still only 22, Lleyton Hewitt already has 19 major titles under his belt. The former world number one 
gladly contributed to the Top Spin motion capture sessions to ensure his videogame character came complete 
with his unique playing style and trademark backhand. 



■ WIMBLEDON 2002 [Winner] 

■ US OPEN 2001 [Winner] 
ADELAIDE 1998 [Winner] 














BSlUUJS 


wM 









games™ 083 



PREVIEW I NFL STREET I PLAYSTATI0N2/MULTIF0RMAT 




BLUE 22! BLUE 22! HUTT, HUTT AND ALL THAT JAZZ. 



FORMAT: PS2, Xbox, 
GameCube 
ORIGIN: US 
PUBLISHER: 
EA Sports BIG 
DEVELOPER: 
EATiburon 
RELEASE: Q1 '04 
GENRE: Sports 
PLAYERS: 1-4 
(1-2 Online) 

■ EAs Street format 
spreads to the world 
of American football, 
making it a whole lot 
more accessible to 
people who aren't 
from the US. 



HOf all the developers that exist 
today, you know you can trust 
Electronic Arts to find a winning formula 
and then milk it for all it's worth - such is 
the secret of success in this day and age. 
Having already discovered that adding 
'street' attitude to basketball pays 
dividends in terms of winning over a whole 
new market, it was only a matter of time 
before the brains at EA thought of doing 
the same with other sporting concepts. 
And so we now have the joys of NFL Street 
on our hands. 



Of course, this isn't exactly a bad thing - 
after all, we much preferred the vibrancy of 
NBA Street 2 against drier titles such as 
NBA 2K3 or Inside Drive, so seeing the 
same arcade stylings applied to a sport as 
inaccessible as American football can only 
be for the better. Essentially a stripped- 
down seven-on-seven version of the sport 
with added 'attitude' (read: insults, 
showboating and a distinct disregard for 
most of the rules), the game still features 
many of the elements that make up 
American football - downs, plays, 




touchdowns and all. However, NFL Street 
has many characteristics that have been 
lifted straight from its basketball-flavoured 
cousin - and again, this is no bad thing. 

For example, just as the key to winning 
in NBA Streetwas humiliating your 
opponent with as many special fakes and 
dunks as possible, NFL Street also allows 
you to bust out fly moves all over yo' 
opponent's punk ass. Really. By pressing 
the L1 button, you can add modifiers to 
your regular moves (throwing passes 
without looking or behind your back, or 
even dancing your way into the end zone), 
pumping up your Gamebreaker meter in 
the process. This in turn lets you level the 
opposition with a devastating play or 
plough their attacks into the dirt, depending 
on whether you're on offence or defence. 

Understandably though, how much 
you're likely to enjoy NFL Street all 
depends on what you want from an 
American football game; those of you who 
prefer as much realism as possible (short 
of donning the armour and heading for the 
gridiron yourself) might not appreciate the 
bastardisation of the sport that NFL Street 
offers. Still, with all 32 NFL teams, over 300 
players, numerous game modes and even 
online play for PS2 owners, there's no 
doubting that it'll certainly catch the 
attention of people who think 
'proper' American football is a little 
bit on the heavy side for them. 

"NFL STREET IS THE 
PERFECT TONIC FOR 
PEOPLE WHO THINK 
MADDEN IS TOO 
COMPLICATED" 



PREVIEW I NINJA GAIDEN I XBOX 



GAIDEN 




TEAM NINJA RESURRECTS AN OLD CLASSIC, AND THERE'S NOT A VOLLEYBALL IN SIGHT 



FORMAT: Xbox 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: 

Microsoft 
DEVELOPER: 
Team Ninja 
RELEASE: Q1 04 
(US: November) 
GENRE: Action 
Adventure 
PLAYERS: 1 

■ Team Ninja's third 
Xbox release sees 
the return of Ryo 
Hayabusa, who's 
now in glorious 3D. 



Though the job of a games journalist 
l=£ is a rewarding one, we'd gladly 
trade it all for the chance to become a 
ninja. Let's face it, throwing shurikens with 
deadly precision, running up walls and 
sneaking around to your heart's content is 
just plain cool. It's little wonder then that so 
many games feature these silent and 
deadly assassins. Whether they're in a 
supporting role in games such as Metal 
Gear Solid or appearing centre stage in 
titles like Tenchu or Shinobi, it's not hard to 
see their appeal. So Ninja Gaiden should 
be right up our alley. 



YOU WANT EXTRAS DO YOU? 

The Dead Or Alive series has always featured plenty of 
unlockable extras, so it's hardly surprising to find that 
Ninja Gaiden will contain its own selection of hidden 
treats. Whilst concrete details have not been confirmed, 
Tomonobu Itagaki (head of Team Ninja) has revealed 
that he has been playing a lot of the original games, 
which could mean that at least one of the titles could be 
found as a playable extra. We're also expecting to see 
new costumes for Hayabusa. Most intriguingly, it's been 
reported that not only will Ninja Gaiden feature Xbox 
Live compatibility but that it will also include online 
elements that have never been seen in an action game 
before. Unsurprisingly, Itagaki-san is giving nothing 
away, but if it comes anywhere near the standard of the 
visuals and gameplay it could turn out to be something 
very special indeed. 

"TEAM NINJA BREATHES 
FANTASTIC NEW LIFE INTO ONE 
OF ITS BEST-LOVED SERIES" 



Whilst it may share the same name as 
its 1988 predecessor, the two games 
couldn't be more different. Like Capcom's 
Maximo, Ninja Gaiden is more of a 
homage than a strict remake and thus 
gives Team Ninja a great deal of creative 
freedom in order to produce something 
that's already looking very impressive. 

There are only a few details about Ninja 
Gaiden's plot, though we do know that it 
takes place two years before the first Dead 
Or Alive tournament and features a 14- 
year-old Ayane (the purple-haired ninja 
from Dead Or Alive 2). Ayane will only be a 
supporting character (so it's unlikely that 
she'll be playable), instead the main female 
focus rests on a girl known only as 
Rachael. Needless to say, it takes an evil 
empire and the destruction of his clan (not 
to mention the theft of his sacred sword) 
before main man Hayabusa embarks on a 
quest for bloody revenge. 

Though the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy 
might not initially lend itself to a potentially 
plot-heavy remake, Team Ninja has 
remembered that the core of the series has 
always been intense action. As a result, 
levels throughout Ninja Gaiden consist of 
sprawling environments that range from 
dark, dusty catacombs to heavily guarded 
military bases. Hayabusa treats each stage 
as an interactive playground, allowing him 
to show off an amazingly athletic array of 
moves in order to overcome his many 
opponents. Double jumps, running along 
walls and a whole host of other acrobatic 



moves are all in a day's work for the 
master ninja and Hayabusa manages to 
pull them all off with breathless ease. 

The one aspect of the game that we're 
most looking forward to is the incredibly 
frantic combat. Initially armed with his 
trusty Katana, Hayabusa is a daunting 
figure as he hacks, slashes and slices his 
way through a menagerie of disgusting 
creatures and terrifying bosses. A number 
of other weapons will become available 
throughout the game and range from 
shurikens and bows (complete with 
seamless first-person interaction), to 
nunchakus, flaming swords and a healthy 
dose of ninja magic. All of this hectic action 
is held together by some of the most 
impressive visuals seen on the Xbox. 

It's clear that updating the Dead Or 
Alive 3 engine has resulted in some truly 
spectacular effects. Hayabusa displays a 
fluidity and athleticism that hasn't been 
seen since Devil May Cry's Dante, and 
every environment has been textured and 
bump-mapped to perfection. Gaiden's 
enemies have received just as much care 
and attention as the master ninja and 
range from evil ninjas to immense skeletal 
dragons. The game's most impressive 
achievement, however, is the free-roaming 
3D camera; Team Ninja clearly has great 
expertise when it comes to fast-moving 3D 
and Gaiden's camera swoops and pans 
with aplomb. With a sequel already 
confirmed, Ninja Gaiden is shaping 
up to be a potential must-have title. 



088 games™ 



*f* 



COMPANY PROFILE 

■ Formed in 1991, Team Ninja found fame with its side-scrolling beat-'em-up Ninja Gaiden (known as 
Shadow Warriors in Europe). Headed by Tomonobu Itagaki, it's now best known for its Dead Or Alive 
series, which features an array of voluptuous women and devastating counter attacks. 



NINJA GAIDEN 

XBOX 



HISTORY 

■ DOA XTREME BEACH VOLLEYBALL 2003 [Xbox] 

■ DEAD OR ALIVE 1998 [PlayStation] 
SHADOW WARRIORS 1991 [NES] 




games™ 089 



PREVIEW I BOKTAI: THE SUN IS IN YOUR HAND I GAME BOY ADVANCE 



BOKTAI: THE SUN 




THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON GBA 



E= 



For years, gamers have been 



FORMAT: GBA 
ORIGIN: Japan 
PUBLISHER: Konami 
DEVELOPER: 

In-House 
RELEASE: TBC 
(Japan/US: Out Now) 
GENRE: RPG 
PLAYERS: 1 

■ Konami plays its 
innovation card once 
more, this time with 
a GBA adventure 
that uses sunlight to 
fight off the undead. 



'INNOVATION ASIDE, 

BOKTAI IS STILL A 

VERY INTERESTING 

AND ENJOYABLE 

ADVENTURE" 



portrayed as pale-skinned, sun-shy 
recluses who spend much of their time 
staring into a screen. Obviously, some of 
us do fall into this category, but as mobile 
gaming continues to grow in popularity, 
gamers the world over can be seen to whip 
out Game Boys or kick back with phone 
games absolutely anywhere. In a stroke of 
genius, Konami is capitalising on this 
mobility by releasing the first GBA title to 
have a solar cell built into the cartridge. 
Boktai uses the cell to absorb sunlight to 



power the guns in a game that's filled with 
creatures of the night - the sun proves to 
be a powerful ally against these shady foes. 

Even from the early stages of the game, 
there are plenty of nods to another Konami 
series -the one that made Solid Snake a 
household name, no less. Stealth proves 
as useful a tool as light and the main 
character has a few moves that make 
sneaking around much easier. It makes 
sense to play evasively when the cartridge 
isn't exposed to light, but even when solar 
power is on your side certain situations 
can be tackled better by simply sneaking 
past them. 

The way in which the system works is 
simple -the more the cartridge is exposed 
to natural light, the quicker your 
ammunition recharges. When fully 
illuminated, you're able to fire to your 
heart's content, but as soon as you lose 
your light source you need to start thinking 
more about conservation. 

From what we've seen so far, Boktai 
showcases great style and a good blend of 
action alongside a unique feature which 
seems to work really quite well. The RPG- 
lite system means you'll be able to equip 
your character as you see fit and the only 
real concern we have is that of SP 
compatibility. Where the cartridge was 
clearly designed with the original GBA in 
mind, the sensor has more trouble working 
when sticking towards the player than 
when facing away. The game itself seems 
solid enough -there's little like it on the 
GBA and with the right marketing (the 
great publicity short shown at E3 
got a lot of people talking), Boktai 
should do very well indeed. 




■ These trap rooms aren't unlocked until you've 
dealt with all the inhabitants, in this case bats. 




090 games™ 



PREVIEW ROUND-UP 




MORE THINGS TO WATCH FOR ON THE GAMING HORIZON 



THE MOVIES 



LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION 



Format: PC/Xbox/PS2/GameCube 

Origin: UK 

Publisher: Activision 

Developer: Lionhead Studios 

Release: TBC '04 

Genre: Life Sim 

Players: 1 




It should come as no surprise to 
hear that the latest project in the 
pipeline over at Peter Molyneux's 
Lionhead Studios looks set to be 
just about as ambitious and epic as 
they come. Furnishing players with 
nothing more than a dirt lot at the 
dawn of the 20th Century, your goal 
over the next hundred years or so 
will be to develop a thriving 
Hollywood studio. Placing you in 
control of everything from hand 
picking your stars to designing the 
sets, The Movies tasks you with 
creating the box office smashes that 
will drive your studio forward. You'll 
be able to download new content 
and, best of all, post your mini 
movies online for the whole world 
to see. 



ROME: 
TOTAL WAR 



IT SURE WASNT 
BUILT IN A DAY... 



Format: 

Origin: 

Publisher: 

Developer: 

Release: 

Genre: 

Players: 



PC 

UK 

Activision 

Creative Assembly 

Q3'04 

Strategy 

1 (Multiplayer online) 



The Total War series is hard to beat 
for epic battlefield action and, from 
what we've seen of the awesome 
Rome: Total l/Varthus far, the next 
instalment promises to eclipse 
anything the genre has seen before. 
Immense armies of up to 10,000 
motion-captured troops can be led 
into battle, and huge cities (complete 
with citizens) may be constructed as 
your empire expands. When a 
conflict erupts around these towns, 
the city streets will be meticulously 
recreated in all their glory to host the 
action. It might not be scheduled for 
release until the end of next year, but 
the brief demonstrations of its 
stunning 3D visuals have already 
sent enough pulses racing to put the 
hype machine in motion. 




GHOSTHUNTER 


WE AIN'T AFRAID OF 
NO GHOST 


Format: PlayStation2 
Origin: UK 
Publisher: SCEE 
Developer: In-House 
Release: Q4 '03 
Genre: Survival Horror 
Players: 1 




™ i 








jE. m 








tr~ s 


t i 












kZ^^^^3I^^I 




Y?v 








^^^^^ 




* 








^d 












There hasn't been a new addition to 
the survival horror genre for at least 
a couple of weeks now, but budding 
Egon Spenglers should fear not as 
Sony is promising to have its very 
own scarefest - Ghosthunter- on 
the shelves before the year is out. 
Based on an enhanced version of 
the Primal engine, the latest offering 
from Studio Cambridge is hoping to 
present a serious challenge to the 
abundance of superb Japanese 
horror titles. Although there's a 
distinct lack of in-game screenshots 
to back up the sublime quality of the 
renders that have been released, 
we're expecting to see the PS2's 
graphical capabilities pushed to the 
limit in bringing the legions of 
disturbing nasties to 'life'. 



SWAT: GLOBAL 
STRIKE TEAM 

LOOK MA -NO HANDS 



Format: PlayStation2/Xbox 

Origin: UK 

Publisher: Vivendi Universal 

Developer: Argonaut Games 

Release: Q4 '03 

Genre: FPS 

Players: 1-2 



Whether we're watching the footy 
or participating in some Uri Geller 
experiment, television is a one-way 
medium and we can't influence 
events no matter how loudly we 
shout at the screen. Until now, that 
is. A nifty piece of voice recognition 
software has been built into the 
control interface of this team-based 
shooter that lets you use the 
microphone headset to bark orders 
to your Al squad-mates. There's 
also the ability to vocally apprehend 
suspects while your team cuffs 
them. We've had some 'interesting' 
experiences with VR software in the 
past, and only hope the interface is 
suitably accent-proof to avoid 
discrepancies between what you 
say and what the Al hears. 




092 games™ 



DELAYED - castlevania (PS2) 

■ As if to enhance our concerns that Castlevania: Lament Of Innocence i; 
going to be a disappointment, Konami has ordered the game to be 
delayed until January '04 in Japan, with a PAL release set for February. 



UNCANNED - red dead revolver (PS2) 

■ Now here's a turn-up for the books - having disappeared without trace last 
month, rumour has it that this western shoot-'em-up is back on the cards 
(albeit minus Capcom's backing). Is Rockstar behind it all? We'll wait and see. 



BALDUR'S 
GATE: DARK 
ALLIANCE II 

THEY'VE ADDED A 'II' 
AND MORE BESIDES 



BATTLEFIELD 
VIETNAM 

SMELLS LIKE VICTORY? 



CLUB 
FOOTBALL 



THIS SEASON'S 
SURPRISE PACKAGE 



MAX PAYNE 2: 
THE FALL OF 
MAX PAYNE 

WELCOME BACK TO A 
WORLD OF PAYNE... 



Format: 


PlayStation2/Xbox 


Format: 


PC 


Format: 


PlayStation2/Xbox 


Format: PC/Xbox/PlayStation2 


Origin: 


US 


Origin: 


Canada 


Origin: 


UK 


Origin: Finland 


Publisher: 


Vivendi Universal/Interplay 


Publisher: 


EA 


Publisher: 


Codemasters 


Publisher: Rockstar 


Developer: 


Black Isle Studios 


Developer: 


Digital Illusions 


Developer: 


In-House 


Developer: Remedy 


Release: 


Q4'03 


Release: 


Q2'04 


Release: 


Q3'03 


Release: Q1 '04 


Genre: 


Action RPG 


Genre: 


FPS 


Genre: 


Sports 


Genre: Action 


Players: 


1-2 


Players: 


1 (up to 64 online) 


Players: 


1-4 


Players: 1 




Extending the Baldur's Gate series 
beyond its traditional PC home 
proved to be an incredibly lucrative 
exercise, selling more than a million 
units on PS2, Xbox and GameCube. 
Now Interplay's RPG division, Black 
Isle Studios, has taken over 
development for the hotly 
anticipated console follow-up and 
thrown in a generous helping of 
new content. As far as the visuals 
and gameplay are concerned, Black 
Isle seems to have adopted the 'if it 
ain't broke' approach and stuck to 
the winning formula of Dark 
Alliance. Players can expect to see a 
couple more playable characters 
and tons of new locations, but 
otherwise it looks like business as 
usual for adventure fans. 



With the latest Secret Weapons Of 
World War //expansion pack out 
now, EA has already turned its 
attentions to touting the long- 
awaited full sequel to the superb 
PC war sim Battlefield 1942. 
Though development is still in its 
early stages, Battlefield Vietnam is 
already shaping up to surpass its 
predecessor in every way. Moving 
its all-action portrayal of war into 
the Vietnamese theatre of conflict, 
players can use a range of new 
weaponry and vehicles. Varied 
terrain maps, a stunning new 
graphics engine and an authentic 
Sixties soundtrack should create a 
truly cinematic experience, while 
the multiplayer online battles look 
set to take centre stage. 





New football titles come along all 
the time but tend to fade from 
memory rather quickly as we return 
to Pro Evolution's unbeatable 
gameplay or the ever-popular FIFA 
franchise. The latest challenge to the 
league leaders comes in the shape 
of Club Football, with 17 separate 
versions dedicated to the fans of 
certain clubs. The featured English 
Premiership teams are Arsenal, 
Villa, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool 
and Leeds, but if your loyalties lie 
outside this selection you're unlikely 
to appreciate the host of club- 
specific features intended to set this 
title apart from the crowd. That said, 
if the gameplay is anything like the 
visuals, Codemasters could have a 
serious contender on its hands. 



Max Payne wrote his name in 
videogame history back in 2001 by 
introducing us to the cinematic 
joys of bullet-time. Since then, 
countless games have followed in 
his footsteps and incorporated a 
similar slow-mo effect to give the 
action a dramatic edge. But now 
that his party trick has become a 
little old hat, will the man with 
nothing to lose have enough up his 
sleeve to enjoy the same level of 
success again? Rockstar is keeping 
its cards close to its chest in terms 
of details but major enhancements 
to the graphics engine, bullet-time 
effects and inclusion of a Havok 2 
physics system will ensure Max 
Payne's second outing is very easy 
on the eye. 




games™ 093 




....... x, ...... P ...... .-.^..-. .*-.■,.-..*..*. .-..■■. yv,/,/./././,vM^ v vs.*..s.'..s^ -*/ 



. ■ 







^^^^t^t^^^M* . • ■ • ■ • ■ stiM 




t/ 




I \ ^ 



£• 





I 



1 



3 . 




r 



i 



I 



long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Well, 
actually not that long ago and not that far away - it 
1 was in the late Seventies when a generation of kids 
had their childhood warped by the effects of two 
cultural forces. On one side, there was the birth of 
the videogame industry, and on the other, the 
, movie that reinvented the pulp traditions of sci-fi 
I for the 20th Century - Star Wars. Luke Skywalker 
and Pac-Man were the heroes back then, and they helped to form the 
perceptions of a whole generation of gamers. Fast forward three 
decades; now those kids are thirty-somethings who are free to indulge 
in their nostalgia by buying Star Wars games for themselves and their 
kids. It's a far cry from the end of the first Star Wars movie trilogy in 
1983. Back then, the original fans found themselves wanting more, and 
in the gap between the original trilogy and the new prequel movies, 
those old-school aficionados had to turn to videogames to get some 
Force-powered entertainment. 

Throughout the games industry, licensed cash-in games have always 
had a reputation for being chronically poor, but, for many, the Star Wars 



titles from LucasArts were the exception to 
that rule. In the last decade, Star Wars 
games went from crappy platformers and 
side-scrolling shooters to fully-fledged epics 
of their own, creating new characters and 
storylines that expanded upon the films; but 
that brief period of creativity looked set to 
end when the prequel movies arrived. The 
evolution of the movie and videogames 
industries took place side by side, with 
technology and narrative from one bleeding 
into the other, and Star Wars reflected this. 
Some movie critics were quick to point out 
the similarity between scenes in the prequels 



"THE GAMES CAN BE JUST AS FULFILLING AS THE 
FILMS IF THEY ARE DUNE RIGHT - A GREAT 
*T0RY CAN IMMERSE YDU IN EVENTS" 







r^ 


1 1 








FARCE FEEDBACK 



One thing Star Wars titles have done is 
carefully comb the gaming genres for 
title ideas; the obvious stuff like FPS 
shooters, RTSs, fight games and space 
sims have all been done, and thanks to 
the podrace in Phantom Menace we've 
had racers as well. So how long is it 
before LucasArts starts branching out 
into other styles of gaming? How 
about Sim Death Star- start out as a 
lowly Imperial Moff and build your 
own planet-killing superlaser! Vaporise 



innocent planets for your 
own amusement! 

Surely with Jabba the Hutt's band 
in Return Of The Jedi and that catchy 
Ewok song, can a music-based Star 
Wars title be far away? Jedi Set Radio 
and Dance Dance Rebellion, anyone? 
Maybe Grand Theft Jawa, a Mos 
Eisley-based crime sim where you play 
a cheeky little fella stealing 
Landspeeders and nicking droids. . . 
Hey, it'll happen. You mark our words. 



and games. Many saw scenes like The 
Phantom Menace's podrace as little more 
than a glorified advert for the videogame, a 
point not lost on Andy McDermott, editor of 
movie magazine Hotdog. "It's ironic that the 
original films inspired so many videogames, 
and now the new films are like 
videogames," he says. "The quality of acting 
on show in the preq' ,qI ° : ° "*«+*« «'« ™ k q ++ Q k 
than, say, Resident i 

BRAVE NEW WORLD 



BANTHA 



jT I I I I 



Wars prequels left older fans cold. "People 
who grew up with the original films were, for 
the most part, disappointed by the prequels," 
says McDermott, "Especially Episode I 



from the stories they loved as kids." 
Dissatisfied, many of the generation that 
grew up with Star Wars turned once again to 
the games to get their fix of the Force. After 
all, as Simon Vincent, editor of Star Wars 
I Outpost 
(www.antilles100.freeserve.co.uk), points 
out, the games are "a way of getting yourself 
stuck into the movies. You can actually be a 
Jedi and swing a Lightsaber, fly an X-Wing or 
even be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker." 

As a whole group of youngsters latch on 
to a new age of Star Wars films, their older 
counterparts are carving out their own 
slice of the saga through original spin- 
off games. However, McDermott is 

ie as 

widely popular as the films. "I think 

that only a truly fanatical hard-core 

/vho eats and sleeps Star Wars 

I like many of the games," he 

vs. "LucasArts used to be a seal of 

quality on a game, but it's become totally 

devalued by so many third-rate titles." 

LucasArts does seem to have realised this 

and is aiming for a "return to superlative 

quality", in the words of company president 

Simon Jeffery. "It's still a bumpy road, and 

~ J ' ' ~ psetting a few people 

aiuny me way, ne noted in an interview. 

"However, we truly believe that in a 

couple of years, all LucasArts and Star 

Wars gaming fans will look back and 

say, 'Ah, it was really worth 

it'." The fans have yet to 

% decide if they agree, but 



chance to be part of a living, 

breathing Star Wars world when Star 

Wars Galaxies opens its doors. This, 

believes McDermott, is what could really 



redeem the Star Wars games. "Somethin 
like Star Wars Galaxies would have a lot c 



rather than a more generic fantasy backdro 
like EverQuest," he says. 

GDING THE EXTRA MILE 

In the earliest years, the tie-ins operated in 
the shadows of the films, allowing gamers 
to replay key scenes but not to go further 
afield. It was not until ten years after Return 
Of The Jedi that the first games to push the 
envelope - X-Wing and Rebel Assault - 
appeared. Between 1993 and 199" 
Wars titles were released for various 
platforms, and Lucasfilm saw the potential 
to further the franchise without calling 
George back to direct another movie. This 
move did prove popular with some fans, 
though many are aware that there's an 
element of cynicism involved. "Games are 
used in an off-movie year to keep Star Wars 
promoted," says Simon Vincent, "but the 
games can be just as fulfilling as the films if 
they are done right - they carry on the fun 
andadventur 

A great storyline can immerse you in the 
events and feel like the films. When 
LucasArts go the extra mile, as they did with 
the Jedi Knight FMV, you even get a mini- 
movie with actors." One example of this 
'extra mile' was 1994's Rebel Assault II: The 
Hidden Empire. It was the first Star Wars 
project to feature all-new footage filmed 
with actors and sets since the original 
movies, but the game performed badly and 
all that hard work got lost. At the same time, 
the Star Wars saga was enjoying a rebirth in 
novels and comics, and from this cross- 
media melange an idea was born called 
Shadows Of The Empire. The concept 
behind Shadowswas for a Star Wars movie 
without the movie - the game (a flagship 
title for the N64 console) was the lynch-pin 
of a storyline set between the second and 
third films, spinning off a novelisation, 
comics, trading cards and even a 
soundtrack album. But while the success of 
the project was limited (Simon Vincent 



Let's face it - although most of 

us love the Star Wars saga, there 

have been a few mis-steps along 

the way and, like the 

introduction of Jar-Jar Binks, 

some Star Wars games should 

never have been unleashed. For 

ages, the game that many fans 

reviled was Rebel Assault. A 

glitchy arcade-style title mixing 

third-person shooter sections 

with on-rails space combat, 

Rebel Assault was an early 

experiment down the 

technological dead-end of CD-I. A 

decade later, it has aged badly 

while its purely PC-engineered 

stable-mate X-Wing still has play 

value. Despite the poor 

performance of the title, a sequel 

came out in 1995, but "rt was 

blown away by the success of 

the first Star Wars FPS, Dark 

Forces. Masters Of Teras Kasi 

proved that Mortal Kombat 

crossed with Star Wars was - L " 

of a non-starter, especially wi 

all players really wanted was a 
chance to cut each other up with 
Lightsabers - they would get it 
three years later with Jedi Power 
Battles, but by then the Jedi 
Knight games had eclipsed the 
beat-em-up titles for sheer Force- 
powered mayhem. As the 
prequel trilogy began in cinemas, 
some Star Wars gamers began 
to fear that the heyday of the 
saga was over, with thinly-veiled 
tie-in titles that only paid lip 
service to the Star Wars milieu 
(the Vigilante 8 clone Demolition, 
a flawed third-person adaptation 
of The Phantom Menace and the 
slack Force Commander RTS - as 
Andy McDermott says, the 
secret of a good Star Wars game 
is "being a good game in its own 
right if all the Star Wars 
elements are removed"). But 
with the advent of online 
multiplayer games set for release 
in the coming months, the 
LucasArts series may be 
approaching a true renaissance. 
Poodoo or not? We'll have to 
wait and see. 



-* 



, 



• • ••• 




Star Wars (movie) 
The Empire Strikes Back (movie) 
The Empire Strikes Back (Atari 
2600, Intellivision) 



Return Of The Jedi (movie 
Wars (Arcade, Atari 2600// 
C64, Colecovision); Return 
The Jedi: Death Star Batth 
(Atari 2600/5200/XE); Jedi 
Arena (Atari 2600) 



Return Of The Jedi (Arcade) 



The Empire Strikes Back (Arcade) 



Star Wars (NES, Game Boy, 
Game Gear, Master System) 



Super Star Wars (SNES); The 
Empire Strikes Back (NES, 
Game Boy, Game Gear) 
Super The Empire Strikes 
,e NES); Rebel Assault (PC 
!GACD,CD-l,3DO);Ste 
less (PC, 3DO); X-Wing, 
Imperial Pursuit and B-Wii 
expansion packs (PC) 



Super Return Of The Jedi 
(SNES); Rebel Assault (Mac); TIE 
Fighter and Defender Of The 
Empire expansion packs (PC) 
Star Wars Arcade (Arcade, Sega 
32X); Rebel Assault II: The 
"'dden Empire (PC, Mac); Dark 
trees (PC, Mac); Super Return 
^f The Jedi (GB) 

Shadows Of The Empire (I 
n ark Forces (PSone); Reb- 

ssault II: The Hidden En., 

Sone); X-Wing (Mac) 



Star Wars Trilogy: Special 
Editions (movies); X-Wing 
TIE Fighter & Balance Off 
expansion pack (PC); TIEF 
" "ac); Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II 

)); Star Wars Monopoly (PC); 

adows Of The Empire (PC); 

asters Of Teras Kasi (PSone); 
oda Stories (PC, GBC) 



Jedi Knight: Mysteries Of The 
Sith expansion pack (PC); °*- 
Wars Supremacy (PC); Ro 
Squadron (PC, N64); Star . 
Trilogy (Arcade) 



Episode I: The Phantom /I 
(movie); The Phantom Met 
(PC, PSone); X-Wing Mian 
(PC); Episode 1: Racer (PC, N64), 
Star Wars Jeopardy (PC). 



Force Commander (PC); 
Demolition (PSone, DC); Jedi 
Power Battles (PSone, DC); 
Episode I: Racer (GBC, Mac, DC); 
Battle For Naboo (N64), Obi- 
Wan's Adventures (GBC) 



Rogue Squadron II: Rogue 
Leader (GO; Battle For Naboo 
(PC); Galactic Battlegrounds (PC); 
Obi-Wan (XB); Starfighter (PS2); 
Starfighter: Special Edition (XB); 
Super Bombad Racing (PS2); 
Episode I: Racer (Arcade) 



Episode II: Attack Of The Clones 
(movie); Starfighter (PC); 
Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone 
Campaigns expansion pack 
(PC); Racer Revenge (XB), Jedi 
Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, XB, 
GO; Jedi Starfighter (PS2); The 
Clone Wars (PS2, GO; Bounty 
Hunter (PS2, GO; Attack Of The 
Clones (GBA); TheNewDroid 
Army (GBA) 



The Clone Wars (XB); Star I 
Galaxies (PC); Knights Of T 
Republic (XB, PC); Rogue 
Squadron: Rebel Strike (GO, Jedi 
Knight Jedi Academy (PC); 
Flight Of The Falcon (GBA) 





|\ blames poor controls for making the game 
frustrating), it did the job by keeping fans 
occupied until the Special Edition versions 
of the original films were released in 1997. 
LucasArts capitalised on the surge in 
interest for the old movi< 
Knight and X-Wing vs. 'lit i-ignter. inese 
first-person shooter and space sim titles 
remain the star intellectual properties of 
Star Wars gaming, with 1999's X-Wing 
Alliance still well respected and a new Jedi 
Knight instalment on the way. 

THE NEXT GENERATION 

But once The Phantom Menace arrived, Star 
Wars games began to lean towards a 
younger market, with more simplistic 
gameplay styles, storylines with less depth 
and what some observers saw as a certain 
lack of originality - the "cartoon-style look" 
is also cited by Vincent as another problem 
with the title. Arcade-style games like Battle 
For Naboo and Jedi Power Battles followed 




to the older titles. Of the 15 games released 
in 2001-2002, less than a third were based on 
the original trilogy, and where Star Wars 
games were once largely dominated by the 
older-age-group PC market, the state of play 
is now securely in the more lucrative but 
youthful console sector - and attracting 
younger players means aiming more 
towards the prequel trilogy. Vincent believes 
that the PC gamers and, to some extent, the 
original trilogy, are being overlooked. "All 
the new stuff is coming out on console only 
and that is really annoying," he says. "The 
last good games to come out [on PC] were 
Jedi Outcast and Battleground, whereas the 
consoles have had at least three or four new 



game for three years but all they make is 
GameCube Rogue Squadron ones." 
However, Tom Sarris, head of PR at 
LucasArts, maintains that the company has 
not ruled out the possibility of future 
development of original trilogy ( — 
"since there remain many compelling 
stories to be told within that universe." 
Though he also notes "for the time being, 
we're focusing our Star Wars game 
development efforts on [the prequels]." 



"I THINK ONLY A TRULY FANATICAL 

RD-CDRE STAR WARS FAN CDULD LIKE 

MANY DF THE GAMES" 



IG MAGA 



X, 



IS THERE A NEW HDPE? 

Star Wars fans are a dedicated lot, so their 
disappointment with the prequels sent many 
of them running back to their own cadres of 
mod makers. Strong online groups creating 
missions and levels for X-Wing and Jedi 
Knightwere more than happy to take up the 
slack, maintaining a healthy player 
community. Sites like X-wing Legacy, XWA 
Upgrade and the fan designers of the X-ED 
mission editor have kept the space combat 
game alive in the face of newer sim games 
that can't match the depth of this venerable 
original, while hundreds of Jedi Knight sites 
continue to thrive. In fact, Simon Vincent 
thinks that it's the enthusiasm of the mod 
makers that's keeping the Star Wars PC 
1 ru ^ PC market [for Star 
wens yanicaj is vciy nniited, so mods are 
needed to keep those few PC games 
playable. Without new games or expansions 
the mods are the only thing that keeps the 
Star Wars games popular." 

However, LucasArts' policy of at best 
ignoring mod sites and at worst shutting 
them down made some fans feel even 
more embattled; many feared that s*», 
Wars games were in danger of becoi 
shallow, short-attention-span titles and 



some fans were still convinced the original 
trilogy would be forgotten. Simon Jeffery 
sees the ebb and flow of games between PC 
and console as part of the growth in 
technology: "We will be more active in the 
console field as we get better at building 
console games," he says. "However, we 
strongly believe in the future of PC gamin< 
and will continue to invest in and build 
games for this market. The PC is constantly 
evolving - the current consoles are red-hot 
in terms of technology right now, but in two 
to three years the PC will be where high 
performance lies, and console gamers will 
all be reading about the 'next-next-gen' 
systems just around the corner." 






S^uH>* 



With just one more preq 
come, the future of Star Wars gaming is still 
undecided. Market forces mean that there's 
no doubt the prequels will continue to be 
the leading premise for Star Wars titles, but 
the concerns of old-school gamers that this 
will be at the expense of the original trilogy 
"""imature. "We are going to 
have online gaming and that will keep Star 
Wars evolving on its own," says Jeffery, 
"We are looking at new areas of Star Wars 
gaming, such as Knights Of The Old 
Republic set several thousand years before 
the movies. It allows us to do stuff with Star 
Wars that we have never done before. We 
are looking to move away from just the 
game of the movie and really flesh out the 
universe and expand it as much as we can." 

So where does the future lie for the Star 
^i and its fans? Rather thf" • ' 
their fanbase into original trilogy and 
prequel fans, LucasArts seems to want to 
bring them together, and the advent of 
Star Wars Galaxies and Knights Of The 
Old Republic is set to build communities 
of gamers. Beyond these titles, Rebel 
Strike, Jedi Academy and Republic 
Commando will appeal to Star Wars fans 
both young and old. In just over a year's 
time, Episode ///will arrive in cinemas and 
another phase in the Star Wars saga will 
be over. From there, the galaxy far, far 
away will once more become 
the property of gamers to >■ 
build on as they see fit. 





HEY.VKNOW. 

tOR kids! 

As well as a slew of Star Wars games, 

LucasArts has also used the franchise for 

several PC-based 'edutainment' titles for 

children. The earliest in the series was Droid 

Works, which used the Jedi Knight FPS engine 

to teach the ankle-biters about basic physics 

and mechanics - stuff like pulleys, levers and the 

like. The game allowed you to build your own 

robot, Jawa-style, from a set of parts in 

order to overcome obstacles. With 

the arrival of the kid-friendly Episode I 

movie in 1999 came The Gungan 

Frontier, a junior cross between an RTS 

and Sim City, but the majority of the later 

children's games were aimed at a much younger 

age group with stuff like Pit Droids, Star Wars 

Maths, Yoda's Challenge and Anakin's Speedway 

Sadly, the high Jar-Jar content of these titles 

kept them well away from the more discerning 

Star Wars geeks. 

games™ 101 




^biHLHfc 


V 


E^ ' ^ 


'■ 




f" 


-, 


1 flH^^^ 




F? — 





INTRODUCTION I REVIEWS 



REVIEWS 



Star Wars: Knights Of The 
Old Republic 


104 


Xbox 


Zone Of The Enders: 
The 2nd Runner 


108 


PlayStation2 


Colin McRae Rally 04 


110 


Multiformat 


Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour 


112 


GameCube 


The Great Escape 


114 


Multiformat 


Freestyle MetalX 


115 


Multiformat 


Freedom Fighters 


116 


Multiformat 


CT Special Forces: 
Back To Hell 


118 


Game Boy Advance 


Age Of Wonders: 
Shadow Magic 


119 


PC 


F-Zero GX 


120 


GameCube 


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 


122 


Multiformat 


Splashdown 2: 
Rides Gone Wild 


123 


PlayStation2 


Soul Calibur II 


124 


Multiformat 


Conflict: Desert Storm II 


126 


Multiformat 


Otogi: Myth Of Demons 


127 


Xbox 



THE AVERAGE 

Despite representing an industry in which high scores mean 

everything, games™ is not a magazine that marks with the majority. A 

lot of people think that anything below seven (7.0, 70%, whatever) is a 

bad score - we don't. Going on a scale of one to ten, five is the 

average - average being a game that does what it sets out to do 

without attempting to do it better than anyone else. If a game gets five, 

you'll get some enjoyment out of it but nothing more, simple as that. 

What's more, we won't be swayed by PR people telling us what a 

game's like -we only decide once we've played each game to death 

and, in the majority of cases, to completion. If a game's bad, we'll make 

sure you know; if it's great, we'll sing its praises. At the end of the day, 

we're just here to help you decide what's worth your hard-earned cash. 

After all, if it wasn't for you, we'd be out of a job. 



games™ 103 



REVIEW I STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC I XBOX 





Hflvfl^l Hi 




_ I 


. 




I Nearly every NPC will offer up a phrase or two of recorded dialogue - 
most can hold full conversations with you. 



I Perform a bad deed and you'll score Dark Side points. Help an old lady 
across the street, however, and you'll score for the Light Side. 



I There are plenty of familiar faces, but chances are they're just the same 
race as the film characters, rather than yer actual Yoda or Chewie. 



104 games™ 




BMH 



V? 




CAN BIOWARE SUCCEED WHERE SO MANY HAVE FAILED BEFORE? 



101 




STAR WARS: 
OF THE OLD 

t has become something of a cliche in 
videogames circles to say that recent 
Star Wars games have failed to 
capture the heady days of the X-Wing 
series on PC. Admittedly, there have been a few 
exceptions to the rule -the GameCube's Rogue 
Leader and (soon to be a classed as an online 
gaming phenomenon) Star Wars Galaxies on PC 
are prime examples - but what makes these two 
succeed where others have so miserably failed? 
Perhaps it's that they were both developed out-of- 
house and LucasArts' input was minimal. Perhaps 
it's simply that they do what Star Wars games used 
to do: they make you feel like you're part of George 
Lucas' (and his considerably talented workforce's) 
fantasy universe. You are Luke Skywalker, you are 
flying down the Death Star's exhaust trench, you 
are all clear, kid, now let's blow this thing and go 
home. . . And it's this that makes Star Wars: Knights 
Of The Old Republic so, so good - you get to play 
the role you always fantasised about as a child, by 
starring in your own Star Wars movie. 

By following similar themes to those found in 
the movies (redemption and the temptation of 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 
ORIGIN 

US 
PUBLISHER 

Activision 
DEVELOPER 

BioWare/LucasArts 



£39.99 
RELEASE 

September '03 
(US: Out Now) 

PLAYERS 



KNIGHTS 
REPUBLIC 



evil) and by setting the story 4,000 years before the 
events depicted in the movies, Knights succeeds in 
evoking the films without simply plagiarising Lucas' 
stories and characters. The game also follows the 
artistic rules of the films with planets having 
distinctively different feels and colour palettes - the 
Jedi training camp is located on a suitably autumnal 
and Oriental Dantooine, while the water world of 
Manaan is all deep blues and silver and is 
reminiscent of Kamino, the clone production planet 
in Attack Of The Clones. Knights invents rather than 
copies; it merely hints at, rather than screams, Star 
Wars. Sure, it relies on certain Star Wars game 
traditions (you do get to visit Tatooine, after all) but 
doesn't need them to make you believe you're in 
the Star Wars universe. Although obviously, it 
appears to be a recurring theme that the desert 
planet is highly significant in the fate of the galaxy. . . 



JEDI KNIGHT II: 
JEDI OUTCAST 



In fact, just a quick note on the whole 4,000 
years business. It seems that the Star Wars 
universe is a largely timeless place, with the battle 
between Sith and Jedi a constant, but BioWare has 
taken quite a few liberties with Star Wars, liberties 
that may grate with some fans. Knights features 




NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 



games™ 105 



REVIEW I STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC I XBOX 



\ 




LIVE OR DIE? 

The combat in Knights is Dungeons & Dragons 
only with accelerated dice throwing. Attacks, 
defence and specials are successful (or not) 
depending your character's stats and on the 
roll of a die. It sounds pretty geeky, but 
BioWare has managed to implement it so well 
that it works like the fighting really is in real 
time. Because things can get complicated, you 
can pause the action at any time and 'stack' 
moves for your fighters. We know that it's 
brilliant because you can tailor the fighting in 
any way you like so, if you like, you can have 
the action pause after every throw of the die 
just like in Final Fantasy. 



3UiHn 

TIMELINE HIGHLIGHTS 



THE BEST BITS IN THE GAME AND WHEN 
YOU CAN EXPECT TO REACH THEM 



s well as your main quest there are a few mini-games to stumble across, including Pazaak (a card game where you can win money) and Gunner, which 
s you take a ride in the Ebon Hawk and shoot down enemy ships. 



n 




t*^ 




O Thrown in at the 
deep end, you don't 
know who you are 
or how you got 
where you are. No 
time to think, and 
there's a Sith attack 
to escape -time to 
learn the basics. 



O You've played 
through the game's 
opening act and 
you've just enrolled 
in the Jedi Academy 
on Dantooine, but 
there's definitely 
something not quite 
right about it... 



O You're well on 
your way to 
becoming a Jedi 
Master -or Dark 
Lord of the Sith. It's 
around this point that 
your Jedi powers 
become interesting... 
very interesting. 



N> technology which is far in advance of anything 
Lucas has in the films: stealth belts that render the 
wearer invisible, brain implants that enhance the 
user's battle abilities and a metal that is Lightsaber- 
resistant are just a few examples (the latter of 
which is oddly used to make blades, but not 
armour). We know why they've done it - largely to 
shoehorn the BioWare PC RPG into a Star Wars 
universe and afford you more customisable 
characters. For us, suspending disbelief was fairly 
easy given all the Wookiees, Lightsabers and Jedi 
running around, but for anyone who loathes the 
new movies, it may be a liberty too far. 

Still, at least you can't fault the battles. BioWare 
has managed to make turn-based fighting 
seem like real time. The fighting system is based 
on the d20 system but you'd never know it. Hidden 
20-sided dice rolls determine the outcome of every 



attack, defence, Force Power and so on. It's far too 
complicated to go into any detail here without 
using up the rest of the space in this review, but 
you should take our word that it works brilliantly. 
The beauty is that it remains a fluid process which 
in turn enables drama and excitement. Oh, and one 
other thing - the battle animations are so good that 
when you get a couple of Jedi up against one 
another, it really is like watching a Lightsaber duel. 

Dialogue also evokes Lucas' films - "I'm Shana 
Denis, I'm here to rescue you," and the 
ubiquitous, "I have a bad feeling about this," 
correspond to Lucas' idea that the Star Wars 
universe contains rhyming couplets. Pretentious or 
not, Knights does follow that rule to the letter. 
Indeed, the use of dialogue is just another area 
where Knights excels. There are some 10,000 lines 
of spoken (yes, spoken) dialogue and it shows. 



THERE'S A CONSTANT TUGGING BETWEEN GOOD 
AND EVIL, NEATLY REPRESENTED BY A SCALE AND BY 
THE WAY YOUR CHARACTER LOOKS" 




§ The battle system can be completely customised -you can have it turn- 
based or real time, or every stage in between. 



I You can control any of the members of your party although 
conversations and decisions only affect the central characters. 



106 games™ 




Almost every NPC will offer up at least a single 
remark- most can be engaged in conversation, 
while major characters can be conversed with for 
five or ten minutes at a time. This is just another 
reason why Knights conveys the feeling of being 
right in the middle of a living, breathing world. 
There are times when there is almost too much 
talking and not enough action but, as with much in 
Knights, the choice of whether you sit through it all 
is entirely yours. 

And this is the best part of Knights. It's a game 
that gives the choice to the player. You always 
feel that it's you, rather than the game's designers, 
who makes the decisions of where to go, what to 
say, how to deal with situations, which path to 
take. Even better, all your decisions invariably have 
repercussions, and these can can radically change 
the game's balance. Everything you say and do 
will affect how the NPCs react to you, or even how 
an entire planet will treat you. Even if you play for 
the Republic or the Sith. That's right - it's your 
choices that determine if you're a good Jedi or a 
Dark one. 

It's all elegantly done too - choose to steal a 
widower's last opportunity for a meal then you'll 
score Dark Side points; help her by buying a 
hunting trophy from her for an inflated price and 
you'll score for the Light Side. There's a constant 
tugging between good and evil, neatly represented 
by a scale and by the way your character looks. Go 
for the good guys and you'll look healthy, start 
down the dark path and pale skin, red eyes and 
bulging veins will be your friends. This has a 
bearing on almost every aspect of the game - from 
how the story pans out to how you're perceived in 
the game (hit the top of the dark scale, for instance, 



and it's possible that people will simply flee rather 
than risk speaking to you) and it even goes as far as 
which objects and powers you can use. 

Of course, compared to a Japanese RPG such 
as, say, The Wind Waker, Knights is a very different 
beast. Without any kind of strict structure to hold it 
all in, it's a very open-ended affair. After the game's 
opening act, you're pretty much left up to your own 
devices and can travel freely around the galaxy 
without the need for a new ability or object. And 
like many of BioWare's previous RPGs, you can 
choose to go for the main plot or take your time 
playing through the numerous side quests, all of 
which only serve to make the game a much richer 
experience. 

Obviously, we could pick holes in the shocking 
drops in frame rate, the incredibly obtrusive 
loading times or even the fact that Lightsabers 
don't chop limbs or heads off. But the truth of the 
matter is that there's so much that's right about 
Knights, it would be unfair to do so. It has a 
captivating story (complete with a few twists), 
three-dimensional characters made all the more 
believable by the generally excellent voice acting, 
and it gives enormous control and freedom to the 
player. With it, BioWare has cemented itself as the 
number-one RPG developer outside of Japan... oh, 
and has made just about the best Star Wars 
videogame ever in the process. And that, on 
all the previous evidence, is no mean feat. 



VERDICT /IP 

AN INSPIRATIONAL USE OF THE STAR WARS LICENCE 



CHOOSE YOUR 
OWN ADVENTURER 

Creating your character in the game is one of 
the most important things you'll do when 
playing Knights- after all, you'll be be stuck 
with it for at least 30 hours. You can pick 
from male or female, and then one of three 
different classes - Scoundrel, Soldier or 
Scout, each with different abilities. Next, you 
choose a portrait from a fairly large selection, 
before selecting specific skills and allotting 
points to each of your character's abilities. 
Oh, and you also have to give them a name. 
Of course, you could get the computer to do 
all of this for you. The choice, as is the main 
theme of Knights, is yours. . . 




I Most conversations will give the option of being nice or nasty tc 
people. Remember kids, hate leads to suffering. 



Q. CAN MY 
LIGHTSABER 
BE PURPLE? 

Yep. You can pick any 
colour (and indeed 
combination) of 
Lightsaber: purple, red, 
blue, green or yellow. 

Q. CAN I MAKE 
FRIENDS? 

There are nine characters 
who can join your team, 
but only two can be in 
your immediate party at 
a time. 

Q. JUDGE ME BY 
MY SIZE? 

Completing just the 
main story will take 
between 15-20 hours, 
but include all the side 
quests and you're talking 
closer to 40. 



games™ 107 



REVIEW I ZONE OF THE ENDERS: THE 2ND RUNNER I PLAYSTATION2 



THE SAME GAME, ONLY BETTER. . . AND YET NOT. THAT'S THE KONAMI WAY 

ZONE OF THE ENDERS 
THE 2ND RUNNER 



151^ 



iQE 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN 
Japan 
PUBLISHER 

Konami 




















-vD| 


m! * 











I Enemies that like to block a 
lot can be a real pain until you 
get the Gauntlet upgrade - or 
you just grab them and hurl 
them into a wall... 



ood things come to those who wait - 
although, as gamers, we have to 
wait more than most. Even then, it 
doesn't necessarily guarantee quality, 
as many long-term gamers or those who've had 
the joy of playing Angel Of Darkness will attest. 
However, when a company admits to deliberately 
holding back a game in order to address the 
problems in versions released in other territories, 
there's at least a chance that things can only get 
better. Or so we'd like to think, anyway. 

Of course, those of you who've already 
| | considered turning the page out of fear of all 
the giant robots in the screenshots should take 
comfort in the fact that Zone Of The Enders: The 
2nd Runner isn't a 'proper' mecha game as such. 
While it is packed with flying robots and other 
mecha-related things, it certainly isn't as 
complicated as something like the Armored Core 



series. In fact, the two games are hardly 
comparable - going on the complex story, frantic 
action and mission structure in ZOE2, it's closer to 
Capcom's Devil May Cry (albeit with a giant robotic 
suit in the place of Dante). Still, you couldn't really 
expect anything less from a game with Hideo 
Kojima's name on it; despite only being a producer 
on this project, his influence is visible from the off. 

There's also some good news if you missed 
J out on the last ZOE outing; no prior knowledge 
is needed to enjoy this sequel. Essentially, the core 
gameplay is pretty similar to last time - taking 
control of the much-desired Orbital Frame 
codenamed Jehuty, it's your job to wipe out pretty 
much anything that moves in an effort to bring 
down the tyrannical forces of BAHRAM and 
generally save the day. The difference from last 
time, though, is the range of mission objectives; 
whereas previously almost every mission was the 



ZONE OF THE ENDERS 




DEVIL MAY CRY 




108 games™ 




FULLY UPGRADEABLE 

If you want to have any hope of surviving some of the later battles 
that ZOE2 offers, you'll have to master all of the upgrades that the 
Jehuty suit receives throughout the game. Although you'll only 
have the option to grab your enemies and use them as a weapon 
or shield against other robots to begin with, various enhancements 
will gradually be added to the suit to give you additional abilities. 
From paralysing your foes for a brief period (leaving them open to 
attack) and creating duplicates of yourself to create a distraction, 
to an unstoppable beam of energy that wipes out anything in its 
path, there's a wide variety of abilities on offer - it's just a case 
of knowing which one to use at 
the right time. Thankfully, it's all 
pretty straightforward (unlike most 
other advanced mecha games we 
could mention). 



■ Along with these familiar 

view-screen sections, Z0E2 also 

has full-on anime cut-scenes that 

really help get the story across. 




Q. WHAT'S NEW? 

Over the original 
Japanese Z0E2, the PAL 
version now has three 
new levels, two 
'reworked' ones and a 
host of new polygon 
models, as well as new 
difficulty modes and 
graphical demos. 

Q. DONT LIKE 
MECHA? 

Although there are 
certainly plenty of robots 
on show, this isn't really 
a 'proper' mecha game - 
that's what games like 
Armored Core 3 are for. 

Q. A LITTLE UNFAIR? 

In places, yes. Some of 
the more intense battles 
become more luck than 
judgement to get 
through, but not as many 
as you might expect. 
However, it's not exactly 
the easiest of games. 



same (destroy enemies, protect buildings and stay 
alive), now there's some variety, from saving a 
fellow robot and destroying key installations to 
taking down an entire armada of ships. This also 
means there's greater variety in the locations to 
visit, which is a big step up from the endless fields 
of blue we saw last time. 

Indeed, it appears that many of the good things 
~^\ in ZOE2 revolve around lessons learnt from the 
previous game -clearly, someone high up listened 
to the complaints and tried to do something about 
them. As well as having more areas to explore and 
some rather awe-inspiring levels further into the 
game, for example, the Jehuty suit has received 
some new skills; most notably, the ability to grab 
enemies and use them as a melee weapon against 
others, or as a shield to deflect oncoming attacks. 
Things have also been stepped up a notch visually 
so that ZOE2 really is a beautiful game. With its 
unique mixture of clean-cut robot models, eel- 
shaded smoke, particle effects and manga FMV cut- 
scenes, the whole thing just oozes style in a way 
that most other games just can't approach. 

With that in mind, it's a shame that some small 
| | (but rather important) elements let the game 
down. Despite having a wide variety of missions, 



for instance, the core concept of attacking enemies 
is one that gets rather samey far too quickly - most 
enemies, bar the bosses, can be dealt with in the 
same way, leading to lengthy bouts of pressing the 
same button over and over. With so much 
repetition, it's doubtful that you'd want to play 
through the game again once you've finished it; 
however, that's exactly what you have to do in 
order to unlock most of the game's secrets. Sadly, 
the story is also flawed thanks to some duff 
translation, meaning the narrative ends up being 
incredibly confusing at times - a very bad thing for 
a game that relies so heavily on the plot. Add a 
badly implemented Versus mode and extra 
missions that are just reworked stages from the 
main game, and it's all a bit of a mixed bag really. 

Still, this isn't to say that ZOE2 is a bad game; 
~^\ as long as you're not looking for something 
too deep and meaningful, it'll certainly keep you 
going for a while. If, on the other hand, you're 
hoping for a massive leap forward from the 
last game, it looks like you're just going to 
have to keep waiting. . . 



I Some stages require the quick 
destruction of many enemies, 
such as this part which sees 
you chasing a runaway train. 



VERDICT 6/10 



OVERLY REPETITIVE AND CONFUSING, BUT STILL FUN 



games™ 109 



REVIEW I COLIN MCRAE RALLY 04 1 XBOX/MULTIFORMAT 



I Several of the rallies end in lap-based Super Special Stages, 
making you go head to head against a rival. 






I The driver view, particularly in the rain or snow, can make for 
some of the most atmospheric driving to date. 





mm 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 

OTHER FORMATS 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN 
UK 

PUBLISHER 
Codemasters 
DEVELOPER 
In-House 
PRICE 
£39.99 
RELEASE 
19 September 

PLAYERS 

1-4 



REINFORCING THE WINNING COMBINATION OF RACING AND DIRT 

COUN MCRAE 
RALLY 04 





reating a franchise in today's fickle 
market can be hard enough for a 
strong character-based title, which is 
why an established series of racing 
games is a rare occurrence. With little more to rely 
on than the actual quality of the games, very few 
racers have the consistency and drive (no pun 
intended) to develop into a successful series 
without a licensing deal. The Colin McRae series is 
a fine example of this - but far from relying on the 
big name to shift units, Codemasters creates a 
genuinely enjoyable rallying experience with each 
title, and, following the groundwork laid by the 
third game, we're very interested in this update. 



Visually, there's clearly been no holding back, 
and while the game may only look marginally 
better than its forerunner, the pop-up that blighted 
the third title is all but non-existent. Car models do 
slightly outclass the surroundings but, given the 
speed at which you'll be tearing past them, this is 
something you'll more than likely not even notice 
while the game is in full flow, least of all when it 
has you ensnared. One setback is the fact that 
you're never sure what impact your surroundings 
will have on your car - walls and fences obviously 
stay more or less where they are but posts, signs 
and shrubs can cause a little more confusion. 
While this may be a semi-realistic feature, we've 



COLIN MCRAE 
RALLY 3 



■ Race well enough and you'll open 

up some rather varied new cars - the 

old-school Escort is a beauty. 




110 games™ 



^^^m 



| Between stages, you get to spend time fixing your car - you'll need to 
both manage and race well to keep in good shape. 



f - ; 1^^ 





■ Tearing through the fields of the more rural tracks, it can sometimes be 
tricky to differentiate between rally track and tractor tracks. 

had one too many victories snatched from us by 
tiny wooden stumps despite laying waste to 
countless metal road signs. 

Still, among our grievances are some truly great 
features. What is perhaps the best element of 
this latest update -the in-car view - has obviously 
been a focus of attention and the benefits are 
obvious. Speeding between trees on a gravel trail 
can be exhilarating enough with the default chase 
camera, but zoom down to the driver's viewpoint 
and things get that much more intense - engine 
roar and exterior noise are much louder and you get 
a far greater sense of speed and immersion. For the 
ultimate rallying experience, you're also able to 
switch off all on-screen displays, making your new 
navigator that much more important. It's this 
attention to detail and feeling of involvement that 
sets Colin apart from his rivals - although the sense 
of speed may not thrill in places, few games can 
hold a torch to the McRae experience. 

It would be easy enough to write off 04 as just 
another rally game if it weren't for some of the 
excellent new features over last year's offering - co- 
operative Championships where you pair up with a 
friend to bring glory to your team, and unique 
upgrade tests that force you to test new parts to 
their limits if you want to use them in future rallies. 
But though the game does improve on many of the 
lesser areas of its predecessor, at same time it 
manages to create new grievances. Handling and 
pop-up have been pretty much fixed, but in 
exchange we're greeted with a problematic 
multiplayer mode, some annoying graphical 
glitches and several other elements that perhaps 
wouldn't grate so much if Colin McRae 3 hadn't 




■ Tuning the car's performance is important for anyone looking to shave 
seconds off their times, though we prefer just going hell for leather. 



Q. ONLY COLIN? 

Nope. Unlike last year, 
you get to race as 
yourself in the vehicle 
of your choice. 

Q. HOW MANY 
TRACKS? 

Eight national rallies at 
six or seven tracks each. 
In total, there's upwards 
of 50 courses. 

Q. NASTY POP-UP? 

Far better than 
before - all you'll get 
is a little fade-in on 
the more complex 
courses but even that's 
barely noticeable. 



FRAME-RATE BLUES 

While we applaud the addition of a split-screen 
multiplayer mode (an element curiously lacking 
from Colin McRae 3), the sad truth is that the 
mode is a little below par. With two or more 
players racing at once, the otherwise smooth 
frame-rate can be thrown into turmoil, and with 
the severity varying from course to course the 
splitscreen action can seem somewhat 
redundant. This ushers you into the game's 
clearly favoured alternating multiplayer modes, 
which wouldn't usually be a problem, but when 
the rest of the game is so clean and polished it 
just further accentuates the weaker areas. 



h 




^^ 




| 





■ Well that's not going to help us catch up with Mr McRae now, is it? 

already tested the next-generation water. For 
newcomers, this fourth game is the best place to 
see what the series is all about, surpassing the 
previous game in practically every area, though 
perhaps not as impressive as the PSone titles were 
in their heyday. 

Make no mistake - we have no qualms about 
declaring this the Xbox's finest rally racer but 
the pressure is really on for Codemasters to excel 
itself with the follow-up. Ultimately, the story is the 
same this year as it was with the last game, and as 
accomplished and involved as Colin's latest is, we 
can't help but feel mildly disappointed - if only 
because we recognise the potential for this 
series to produce a genre-defining racer. 



I The gauges on the left show how hard you're pushing your car parts in 
these tests, in this case the tyres. For once, skidding is a good thing. . . 







^P 



I If you thought the dust trails and other environmental effects look good 
in action, wait until you see the replays - they're really rather special. 




VERDICT /If) 



INVOLVING AND ENJOYABLE; MCRAE EVOLVES AGAIN 



Pretty much a by-the-book 
PS2-to-Xbox conversion - 
expect slightly less impressive 
visuals to be among the only 
noticeable differences. All 
credit to Codemasters, though, 
as the drop in quality is not so 
noticeable as with many other 
recent multiformat titles. 



games™ m 



REVIEW I MARIO GOLF: TOADSTOOL TOUR I GAMECUBE 



m 



►o 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

GameCube 
ORIGIN 
Japan 
PUBLISHER 

Nintendo 
DEVELOPER 

In-House 
PRICE 

$49.99 (Import) 
RELEASE 

Q1 '04 

(US/Japan: Out Now) 

PLAYERS 

1-4 



MARIO GOLF: 
TOADSTOOL TOUR 



LEAVE YOUR TEE' AND 'LINKS' PUNS AT THE DOOR, PLEASE 





TIGER WOODS 2004 



he mixture of golf and videogames is 
a bizarrely potent one. Golfing games 
seem to appeal to a far wider 
audience than the sport itself and 
even those who have never so much as picked up 
a club often buy into them. The craziest part is that 
the sport isn't even particularly well-suited to the 
medium of games - offering no simultaneous play 
and requiring a substantial time investment, the 
experience is fundamentally a primitive one. 
Nevertheless, such games have an allure that is 
difficult to place but impossible to deny, and while 
we may never understand the world's love for 
digital golf, we'll freely admit to being part of the 
problem. When done well, golfing can be among 
the most time-consuming and involving gaming 
experiences, and if there's one man who knows his 
way around a set of clubs, it's a plumber. Well, one 
particular plumber really. 

Even from the lavish opening and the first few 
^ holes, this latest round of Mario Golf exudes 
class. Character models and effects are of an 
impressive quality and, short of a few slight camera 
oddities, Mario and his pals have never looked 
better. Looking at the box, you'd be led to believe 
that the sound quality would be of the same level - 



but though the Pro Logic II logo graces the 
packaging, Toadstool Tour\s far removed from the 
likes of The Wind Waker and Metroid Prime. 
Consisting of generally nondescript tunes and a 
fairly limited selection of quips, the audio aspect of 
the game is by far the weakest element, yet still 
manages to just about redeem itself with a few 
choice cuts. Character voices are fine to a point but 
when three other players are mashing on their 
joypads to fill your screen with taunts and abuse, 
the otherwise amusing lines soon begin to grate. To 
make matters worse, unless your gaming chums 
are particularly well-behaved, trying to get them to 
stop could prove as futile as asking your Halo co-op 
partner to kindly stop hitting you in the back. 

One of the best things about Toadstool Tour\s 
^ that even if it weren't for the familiar characters 
and settings, you'd know it could only have come 
from one of a select few firms. Over the years, 
Nintendo has managed to develop a kind of magic 
normally only associated with the likes of Disney, 
and the way in which the characters move and act 
on the courses is simply beautiful. From Diddy and 
Donkey Kong's simian play styles to Wario and 
Waluigi's evil cackles and temper tantrums, the 
wonderfully realised cast is every bit as well 



Q. HOW MANY 
COURSES? 

Seven in total, one of 
which is a jungle course 
consisting entirely of par 
3 holes. Definitely one for 
hole-in-one seekers. 

Q. CHARACTERS? 

Twelve pretty obvious 
ones to start you off, with 
four less-so following as 
unlockables, as well as 
GBA link-up. 

Q. HOW LONG WILL 
ITLAST? 

With so much to do so 
many times, you'll have 
your work cut out to 
even come close to 
doing everything. 



L_" J 



I All the usual Mario suspects are here and all have been superbly 
realised, giving the game a great atmosphere. 




I Beginners can get the game to work out their swing for them, but if you 
want a little more control then you'll want the manual option. 



112 games™ 




I Donkey Kong's swing is somewhat unorthodox. But then he is a monkey so it's 
rather unfair to expect a Seve Ballesteros-style display. 








JrS 



I What kind of Mario game would it be if there weren't piles of Coins lying around, just waiting for someone with deep pockets to come along? 



^ 


i 


, 


y 


.. 


i 


^^^ ~^H 







EASY DOES IT 

One of the best aspects of Mario Golf is the 
ease of the swing system yet the complexity it 
manages to hide. For beginners, two simple 
taps of the A button is all it takes to perform a 
mighty drive, but it won't be long before you 
find you need a little more 
control over your shots. When this happens, 
you'll need to use Manual mode whereby 
pressing B to stop the power bar means you 
have to gauge accuracy yourself. The payoff is 
that you gain greater control of the ball, 
allowing for all manner of spin to be applied. 
Given the broad variety of modes on offer, you 
really will find yourself using both methods, 
and while precision is required on the tougher 
courses, the 'hit and hope' technique is more 
suited to Speed Golf and lazy play alike. 



personified as it is rendered. Even the courses 
themselves are like nothing you'd expect in a golf 
game -teeing off from boats, avoiding Chomps 
and using Warp Pipes as shortcuts all come into 
play, among many other original features. 

This originality and variety is carried over into 
^ play modes as well - in addition to all the 
expected modes, you'll be treated to target-hitting, 
Coin-collecting, slot machines and a massive 
amount of challenges and tasks. Many of these will 
need to be completed with every character and 
even in co-operative multiplayer in order to claim 
true victory, but with a decent amount of 
unlockables and augmentations up for grabs, you'll 
not go unrewarded. We put a fair few hours into the 
game but still managed to be ashamed by the 
Records screens - if you seriously want to leave an 
impression on the checklists and charts, we're 
talking hundreds, if not thousands of hours of play. 
But don't worry - many of the key extras can be 
made available with substantially less effort, though 
you'll have to work on your game to see them all. 




Despite all the primary-coloured bells and 
^ whistles, Toadstool Tour\s still a golf game - a 
very good one, but a golf game nonetheless. If 
you're not a fan of the sport or games that simulate 
it, we doubt our moustachioed friend will change 
your mind. Just realistic enough so as not to 
alienate avid golfers and with enough enjoyment 
and simplicity to welcome beginners with open 
arms, Mario Golfis a typical 'easy to play, difficult 
to master' affair. With so much to do, it's easy to 
lose hours on just one mode, and taking into 
consideration the multiplayer elements and 
potential for repeat plays there's probably more to 
do than you ever actually will. The cutesy 
presentation belies a more competent 
engine than many would guess - golf isn't 
all about Tigers and Outlaws any more. 



I In multiplayer, the controller can be used to unleash insults or 
encouraging comments towards your opponent 




| The Congo Canopy course is a birdie-hunter's dream - par 3 holes all 
the way, so there's no excuse for double-figures on that scorecard. 



VERDICT 8/10 



LIGHT-HEARTED AND ENJOYABLE SPORTING FUN 



games™ 113 



REVIEW I THE GREAT ESCAPE I XBOX/MULTIFORMAT 



1 


' 


f 


* r 


t 

4 




HI 


^^^^^^^p^^^b. ^ 









jlfl/NIGERPRiMT 




WILL THE GAMEPLAY PROVE AS ADDICTIVE AS THE THEME TUNE? 

THE GREAT ESCAPE 



PS2/PC 







FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 

OTHER FORMATS 

PlayStation2, PC 
ORIGIN 
UK 

PUBLISHER 
SCi 

DEVELOPER 
Pivotal Games 
PRICE 
£39.99 
RELEASE 
Out Now 
PLAYERS 




hristmas wouldn't be Christmas 
without it, the theme tune has 
become a national institution and 
now SCi is giving us the chance to 
indulge in a videogame re-enactment of classic 
Sixties flick The Great Escape. Players control lead 
characters MacDonald, Sedgewick, Hendley and 
'Cooler King' Virgil Hilts through some of the 
film's most memorable scenes during the daring 
attempt to escape maximum security POW camp 
Stalag Luft III. Before embarking on the most 
ambitious breakout in history, however, you'll get 
the chance to master the art of escapology in a 
series of missions cataloguing the events leading 
up to each character's incarceration. 

As you'd imagine, there's plenty of stealth- 
based gameplay as you're frequently tasked 
with sneaking between prison huts without 
arousing the suspicions of your watchful captors. 
However, unlike last year's WWII escape sim 
Prisoner Of War, a good helping of action has 
been thrown in to produce a much more varied 
experience. The action opens with a dogfight 
sequence that sees the laughably camp 
MacDonald battling in vain to protect his squadron 



of Lancaster Bombers against a swarm of German 
fighters. A host of other vehicles must also be 
commandeered as the game progresses, 
culminating in the famous motorcycle chase as 
Hilts makes his spirited dash for the border. 

Sadly, this promising variety of stealth, third- 
person shooter and vehicle-based gameplay 
sees each element being delivered half baked. A 
distinct vein of average runs throughout the game, 
from the lacklustre visuals to each mission's overly 
linear string of objectives. Rather than feeling like a 
mastermind escapologist, your actual role 
resembles that of an errand boy collecting the 
pieces of a pre-scripted plan. Yet while nothing 
here really shines, the overall package is solid 
enough to counter our gripes. The Al pulls off the 
stealth sections nicely, progress can be saved at 
any point to avoid the frustration of entire level 
restarts, and the diverse gameplay sections keep 
the interest level up. It all makes for a fairly 
entertaining affair, but is unlikely to enjoy as 
many replays as its movie counterpart. 




DM 



The rather basic visual style 
doesn't suffer too much on 
translation to PS2, whilst the 
PC version is predictably the 
slickest of the bunch with 
intuitive mouse/keyboard 
controls to boot. 



PRISONER OF WAR 



VERDICT /IP 




007: NIGHTFIRE 



DISTINCTLY AVERAGE IN EVERY DEPARTMENT 



© 


1 rC 



* * jflP^r^^H ^^ 




I There are some sections where stealth just won't cut it 



I You'll get to drive a range of vehicles including, surprise, a motorbike. ■ The guards maintain perfect posture, even while sleeping on the job. . 



114 games™ 



REVIEW I FREESTYLE METALX I PLAYSTATI0N2/MULTIF0RMAT 



TRUST US, IT'S NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS 



FREESTYLE METALX 




FORMAT REVIEWED 

PlayStation2 
OTHER FORMATS 

Xbox, GameCube 




aving witnessed the evolution of the 
Tony Hawk series from limited 
trickery to huge freeform objectives, 
we can see the direction in which 
the genre is shifting and it's certainly a turn for 
the better. Strangely, a lot of the new twists in 
extreme sports games are taking them closer to 
adventure games and, odder still, MMORPGs - it's 
not unthinkable that the next generation of titles 
will offer huge lifelike recreations of real world 
locations on a level of freedom surpassing even 
the likes of Vice City. Still, it's great to see titles in 
the current generation attempting such freedom, 
and while we have come to expect great things of 
Neversoft and Z-Axis, it's even more pleasing to 
see similar ambition from less expected sources. 
Enter Freestyle MetalX. 

At a first glance, you'd be forgiven for 
^ mistaking FMX for any number of similar titles 
-the 'devil horns' presentation is nothing new 
although it does suit the style of the game. The 
gritty front end is carried over into in-game 
presentation, showing off some decent character 
models and environments (albeit with limited 
draw distance) and the expected rock soundtrack 
which expands as you complete key events. 
Arguably, MetalXs strongest area is its sheer 
variety - on top of basic Tony Hawk's-sty\e 
objectives, you're required to compete in Big Air 
contests, races, stunt shows and more in order to 
earn enough cash to see the later levels. The levels 
are impressive in scale and, better still, become 
interconnected as you unlock them, meaning once 




«l FINGERPRINT 

3 rwHSmAKESTHfo^' nh . ect . ves you 

I 






yuu umiuuk. inem an, yuu car 
ride freely around the entire 
game world. If nothing else 
the intent to get one up on 
Mr Hawk is clear. 



te* 



Unfortunately, this determination to produce 
^ massive and free environments is also part of 
the game's downfall. As impressive as they can 
be, the game engine simply cannot keep up at 
times, resulting in slowdown, pop-up and some 
glitching which annoy more than ruin the game 
but still taint the quality of the overall product. So 
while the glitches and some of the less impressive 
collision detection frustrate more as the game 
goes on, there's still an underlying enjoyment that 
these flaws can't extinguish completely. Between 
the variety, the payability and the great feeling of 
accomplishment that comes from completing one 
of the many tasks, FMX is really quite good fun - 
while far from perfect, it just manages to 
overcome its weak spots, making for yet 



■ We're no experts but that 

really doesn't look safe - here's 

hoping for a happy landing. Or a 

miracle, of course. 



SX SUPERSTAR 




you unlock them all, you can another extreme sports 'almost' 



VERDICT 6/10 



OVERLY AMBITIOUS BUT FUN NONETHELESS 



WORSE THAN 




MAT HOFFMAN 
PRO BMX 2 





g Since the Special bar depletes extremely quickly, you'll need to wheelie between tricks to keep it lit 



i The Stunt Arena is one of the best parts of the game, especially in the great multiplayer modes. 



games™ 11 5 



REVIEW I FREEDOM FIGHTERS I XBOX/MULTIFORMAT 




These Robocop-s\y\e news reports pop up between levels, helping to 
cement the story together in a very tongue-in-cheek way. 



+5E3B 

FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 
OTHER FORMATS 

PS2, GameCube, PC 

ORIGIN 

Denmark 

PUBLISHER 

Electronic Arts 

DEVELOPER 

lo Interactive 



THE RUSSIANS CAME IN TWO BY TWO- HURRAH, HURRAH... 

FREEDOM FIGHTERS 






op quiz, hotshot - there's a legion of 
heavily-armed Russians at your door, 
your brother's been kidnapped and 
the entire country's in the grip of a 
heartless dictator. What do you do? While we're 
not too sure that grabbing the nearest rifle and 
joining the local rebel contingent would be our first 
choice in real life, it's certainly the order of the day 
in Freedom Fighters, EA's interesting take on the 
squad-based strategy genre. However, Rainbow 
Six, this ain't - if you're looking for a methodical 
game that requires planning and efficient use of 
troops then you're in the wrong place, soldier. 

Placing the emphasis firmly on brawn rather 
than brain (although some thought is required) 
this is a tactical squad-based shoot-'em-up with a 



distinctly arcade flavour - and it shows, thanks to 
the simplicity of the gameplay. Commanding your 
troops is done with a combination of three buttons 
- one for attacking, one for defending and a third to 
make them follow you around. Tapping the button 
causes a single rebel to react to your command, 
while holding it down sends all your men out to do 
your bidding; you just face the direction in which 
you want them to go and they'll do it. Even better, 
you can use the over-the-shoulder gun sight to 
pinpoint exact locations for your men to head for, 
which makes maintaining control much easier. But 
before you can order people around, you've got to 
recruit them, and for that you need Charisma. . . 

The circles in the top-left corner of the screen 
represent how many rebels you can take under 



CONFLICT: 
DESERT STORM 




i 1-1 ** 



I This talkative kid pops up to offer some sage advice every so often. 



I Once under your command, rebels will do anything you tell them. 



Q. HOW MANY MEN? 

If you manage to 
complete all the sub- 
missions and find most 
of the hidden casualties, 
you'll be able to earn 
enough respect to 
command up to 12 
rebels at once. 

Q. HOW MUCH 
FREEDOM? 

You can choose the order 
in which you complete 
the areas within each 
stage as you see fit. 
However, you'll have to 
partially explore areas 
and then go elsewhere if 
you want to set up any 
chain reactions to help 
you out... 

Q. CHAIN 
REACTIONS? 

Doing certain tasks in 
particular areas will help 
you out -for instance, 
collecting the C4 in one 
area will allow you to 
blow up enemy 
installations in another, 
stemming the flow of 
soldiers in the third. See? 



116 games™ 



FRIENDLY FIRE 

As well as the solid (and lengthy) single- 
player story, Freedom Fighters also has a 
multiplayer mode that up to four people can 
enjoy. Well, we say 'enjoy' - sadly, while it has 
the same basic concept as the main game, it's 
actually not much fun to play. Once you've 
chosen your side (Soviet or American), the 
idea is to set out and capture bunkers and the 
main flag checkpoint for your team; doing so 
creates soldiers for you to recruit, meaning 
you can defend your turf to the hilt. It sounds 
good in theory, but it turns out to be boring 
and frustrating, which is a real shame. What 
we can't understand is why lo didn't include a 
two-player Co-op mode for the main story, 
allowing friends to team up against the 
Russians. Now that would have been fun. 





'■■"-■► 


- 


■EH 






W ' ^Bar- 




■ Without a rocket 

launcher, helicopters are 

j^M virtually indestructible. 




-I' SlPWl Or ICTrtffil'tfl - I Hflfc 




your wing at any one time; when you fill up your 
Charisma meter, you'll be rewarded with another 
circle. Main objectives will obviously contribute to 
your meter, but you can also boost your Charisma 
by completing secondary missions and healing 
wounded civilians found around each level - 
something that becomes vital the further you get 
through the game. This healing ability also applies 
to your own men; should they get hit you'll have a 
short amount of time to track them down and 
revive them. Losing men damages your Charisma 
and reduces your chances of success, so you'll 
want to keep as many of them alive as possible. 

While all this might sound a little complicated for 
an arcade-style game, it really isn't in practice. 
Ultimately, you can use your men in many different 
ways -from creating a distraction and laying down 
covering fire to manning machine-guns, defending 
positions and even acting as a human shield should 
things go horribly wrong. It's far less intricate than a 
regular squad-based game, yet it retains all the 
elements that make them fun - as opposed to a title 
like Brute Force, which had none of them. With 
some massive levels and a decent amount of 
planning required to get through each scenario 
(though not too much to put action fans off their 
dinners), it should keep most people happy. 



But that isn't to say that the game is flawless. 

For example, the Al suffers slightly in places - 
particularly in the case of the Russians who, for an 
overwhelming invading force, seem to be rather 
stupid at times, allowing you to take out an entire 
platoon of men single-handed. Thankfully, this 
doesn't happen all the time and more often than 
not, you'll see enemies diving for cover away from 
your gunfire, returning fire as they retreat and even 
setting up ambushes a little further down the road. 

Even when you take into account some other 
minor gripes on top of the Al (such as the 
messy multiplayer mode and some occasional 
graphical glitches), there's still no denying that 
Freedom Fighters is a very impressive effort and a 
damn fun game to boot. With a little bit more 
polish in the multiplayer mode and maybe even 
some online support, we'd have been inclined to 
knock the score up even further - as it is, the 
promise of a great single-player experience 
should be more than enough to have you 
'russian' out for this little gem (sorry). 



VERDICT /If) 

A FINE DISPLAY OF IOS CREATIVE TALENT 




H The main rebel base is where 

you plan your attacks. It fills up 

with weapons as you 

successfully complete each raid. 



The main objective of each 
stage is to raise the American 
flag. Yeah, that'll really stop 
those pesky Russians in their 
caterpillar tracks... 



GAM ECU BE £39.99 19 SEPT 



Thanks to the 
simplicity of the 
control system, the 
'Cube version doesn't 
lose out much on the 
controller front. It also 
retains many of the 
graphical nuances of 
the Xbox version. 



While the PC version 
doesn't require a 
monster machine to 
run, it's the 
keyboard/mouse 
controls that may put 
people off. Of course, 
it still looks lovely 
when run properly. 



£39.99 19 SEPT 



The PS2 version 
doesn't look that 
different from the 
Xbox one. However, 
you will need a 
multitap if you even 
want to think about 
using those 
multiplayer modes. 




,*. - 



games™ 117 



REVIEW I CT SPECIAL FORCES: BACK TO HELL I GAME BOY ADVANCE 



IP 



F31B 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

Game Boy Advance 
ORIGIN 
US 

PUBLISHER 
LSP 

DEVELOPER 
In-House 
PRICE 
£29.99 
RELEASE 
Out Now 
PLAYERS 
1-2 



IT SEEMS THAT PARACHUTES, TANKS AND HELICOPTERS ARE THE NORM IN HELL 

CT SPECIAL FORCES: 

BACK TO HELL 





Id classics never truly die - they 
merely get repackaged and crop up 
in various other guises. This rings 
especially true in the world of 
videogames, so nary an eyebrow was raised 
when developers picked at the warm corpse of 
SNK (now freshly revived, of course) and 
plundered the finer moments of its back 
catalogue. At least that should explain why CT 
Special Forces: Back To Hell bears such close 
resemblance to Metal Slug. . . 

Nearly all the elements of SNK's classic series 
^ have made it to LSP's game, from the 2D side- 
scrolling firefights to the controllable tanks. Even 
the trademark highly detailed and fluid cartoon 
animation has made it intact. While matching up 
well to its obvious inspiration, CT Special Forces 
still lacks the spark of imagination and intensity 
that made Metal Slug so special; nevertheless, it's 
a pretty good take on the landmark game and a 
blast to play. While the side-scrolling shooting 
does make up the bulk of the 
game, there are other sections 
that have to be tackled as well, 
such as parachuting behind 
enemy lines or picking off 
terrorists with a sniper rifle. It's 
rare that two consecutive 
sections will play the same, 




which motivates gamers to find out what further 
surprises are in store -these extra sub-games are 
straightforward and the different controls are easy 
to grasp, so they complement the main game 
rather than intrude on it. However, this approach 
can feel scattershot and not all the stages are that 
good (the top-down helicopter sections spring to 
mind), but on the whole it's a novel way to break 
up the pace. 

However, it's a shame that the game comes to 
an end so soon. There are five levels in total 
and while each consists of various stages, they're 
fairly short, meaning it isn't long before the final 
boss falls and the credits are rolling. Bearing this 
in mind, it's something of an oversight that a 
weak narrative has been used to hold the game 
together rather than some sort of scoring system; 
with no high scores to topple, there's little reason 
to return to the game once beaten. Metal Slug 
was always going to be a tough act to follow, 
which makes it even more disappointing that CT 
Special Forces has come up just short of its 
target. At any rate, it's a fun, solid game 
that won't tax your brain but will give your 
trigger finger a workout. 



CONTRA: 
SHATTERED SOLDIER 



VERJ r6/1fl 




SOME GREAT MOMENTS BUT ULTIMATELY SHORT-LIVED 



f £2 


"5 ill I'l" 


1 


& 


- 




i=j™-Vj| 




jV3rPfc ' 'T^i.t fc 






" V ppi£&^ 'T^y^ 





■ It might look like you need to protect your ride but the driver is 
completely safe while you can get hurt. Easy for some, eh? 




1 The subway level is short but surprisingly tough, due to the amount of mini-gun-wielding goons on board. Sadly, the 'too short' criticism is one that can 
be levelled at the game as a whole, and the lack of a high score table is a bit disappointing. 



g We don't recommend that you hold your breath for a silver screen 
adaptation of the plot, you'll probably suffocate. 



118 games™ 



REVIEW I AGE OF WONDERS: SHADOW MAGIC I PC 




I Battles aren't the spectacle they could be, but the vast array of combat 
moves provides enough tactical choices to keep things interesting. 



til 


A 






Thanks to the tutorial, newcomers shouldn't be intimidated. 



Cities can be used to train units, as well as provide a base for your wizard. 



. | ENHANCED 






101 



313 

FORMAT REVIEWED 

PC 



ORIGIN 

Netherlands 
PUBLISHER 
Take 2 
DEVELOPER 

Triumph Studios 
PRICE 
£24.99 
RELEASE 

Out Now 
PLAYERS 

1 (1-8 online) 
MINIMUM SPEC 

450MHz processor, 
128MB RAM, 900MB 
HDD space, 16MB 3D 
graphics card 



AGE OF WONDERS: 
SHADOW MAGIC 

YOU'LL NEVER NEED THAT 20-SIDED DICE AGAIN. . . 





ot to be confused with Ensemble 
Studios' hugely successful Age Of... 
real-time strategy titles, Triumph's 
turn-based Age Of Wonders series 
has provided fans of epic fantasy battles with a 
couple of must-have additions to their PC 
collection. Yet outside hard-core circles of dice- 
rolling strategists, the genre itself generally 
struggles to set too many pulses racing among 
the gaming community as a whole. Shadow 
Magic looks to shed some of the 'newcomers 
need not apply' mentality, however, by including a 
comprehensive tutorial and packaging what might 
otherwise have been a regular expansion pack as 
a reasonably priced standalone game. 

The basic premise involves accumulating a 
formidable collection of heroes and mythical 
creatures to follow your mighty wizard in a variety 
of quests against the dark forces that threaten to 
engulf the land. Friendly cities can be fortified 
against attack while you develop them into 
thriving bases that provide your cause with the 
resources and well-trained combat units you'll 
need to overcome the armies of your foes. As you 
tactically manoeuvre your various parties of 



warriors around the map, you may choose to play 
out the battles you'll encounter in all their glory or 
let the computer generate the result of more 
tedious conflicts for you to save time. The battles 
themselves are filled with an intriguing number of 
strategic possibilities thanks to a fabulous 
variation of character races, unit types, combat 
abilities, skills and, of course, magical spells. This 
is certainly where the game excels as every 
conceivable breed of combatant from Yetis to 
Dragons bring their unique talents to the fray in 
the epic battlefield clashes. 

The in-game graphics are as primitive as ever 
- simply doing their job of representing the 
positions of your various units around the map - 
and the basic turn-based concept won't be every 
gamer's cup of tea. But with more variety and 
strategic depth than any of the previous AOW 
titles, there are plenty of reasons for fans 
and beginners alike to immerse themselves 
in Shadow Magids world of adventure. 



HEROES OF MIGHT 
AND MAGIC 4 



VERDICT /IP 




SOLID ADDITION TO A DECENT SERIES 



games™ 119 



REVIEW F-ZERO GX GAMECUBE 




FORMAT REVIEWED 

GameCube 
ORIGIN 
Japan 
PUBLISHER 

Nintendo 
DEVELOPER 

Amusement Vision 
PRICE 
¥5,800 
RELEASE 

Q4'03 

(Japan/US: Out Now) 

PLAYERS 

1-4 



F-ZERO GX 




s gamers, we're all too used to 
home versions of games paling in 
comparison to their arcade 
counterparts. We've been subjected 
to sluggish ports, huge borders and even 
censorship and alteration so often that it's almost 
expected of certain companies to release 
substandard products - even more so with the PAL 
market. Thankfully, as Namco continues to prove 
with its excellent home console titles, the art of 
conversion is not a dead one, just one that requires 
a lot more work with today's more complex 
games. F-Zero GX\s an odd case (given that it isn't 
really a direct port so much as a sister title), but 
how often is it that you can say a home game is 
every bit as good as - if not marginally better than 
- its coin-op counterpart? Exactly... 

Stunning is the only word that can come close 
^ to describing just how beautiful GX really is. 
From the looping rollercoaster tracks to the 
lovingly crafted backdrops and superb ships, you 
can really see the attention to detail that makes AV 



the perfect heir to the F-Zero throne. At times, the 
frantic action does bear strange similarities to 
Super Monkey Ball, or, more specifically, the 
Monkey Race mini-game -the two couldn't be 
much more different, yet the flying sparks and 
twisting planes occasionally reminded us of 
Amusement Vision's simian masterpiece. It's not 
even as though GXis just a pretty face, either- 
showcasing some truly awesome course design 
and flinging around graphical effects that put most 
titles to shame, this is one game that might well 
have you reaching for a sick bag. In a good way, 
naturally. In the same manner, the music takes 
those familiar tunes you've sped along to in the 
past and gives them the 21st Century treatment - 
the pseudo-dynamic soundtrack perfectly 
complements the high-speed action. 

Despite being related to an arcade game, 
^ you're not left wanting in terms of options and 
modes - each of the nine blocks on the title screen 
leads to an equally enjoyable or functional mode. 
These include the token multiplayer options that, 



Q. HOW MANY 
SHIPS? 

Four from the off, with 
plenty more to buy 
in the F-Zero Shop, 
several secrets and 
the ability to make your 
own - upwards of 40 
in total. 

Q. STORY MODE? 

Yep, nine levels worth. 
But contrary to early 
reports, you can only 
play as Captain Falcon. 

Q. TOO FAST? 

While the excessive 
speed has had its critics 
in Japan, we found it to 
be more or less spot on. 




■™ 






^ 


■c^ 


W ilff. fljl 


~ 


f ^^^P^""™ 


IV 


\ » |r -* 






9 ^ j*j ivirm 




^^ 


^ 














- 


1 




4' 




^md* 


*f 




1T 







I The cockpit view is a one-way ticket to sick city, and while it's not easy to play, the experience is second to none. Story mode gives you some wonderfully varied tasks - racing Goroh down a boulder-filled canyon is a highlight. 



120 games™ 




NO PREVIOUS OWNERS 

On top of the already impressive garage that can 
be accumulated by spending a little cash in the 
game's shop, one of the finest features of 
F-Zero GXis the ability to build your own craft 
from a wide selection of parts. Components can 
be unlocked through Story mode, and by the 
time you've made good progress through 
Falcon's events you should be able to create 
quite the mean machine. However, ifs not all 
about statistics - you're also able to decorate 
your ride with paint schemes, decals and 
patterns to your liking. Billy was certainly a fan 
of the leopard-skin behemoth we built for him. . . 



^H| ^P«P^P ^p* *B 



■ Boosting triggers a huge electrical pulse to spew forth from your 
machine as it careers towards light speed. 

even without LAN play or a full pack of cars, 
make for some of the best four-player frivolity on 
the GameCube. There are even detailed character 
backgrounds (right down to all of the racers having 
their own theme songs) as well as the 
full complement of Cups, Practice and Time 
Attack options we've come to expect. One sorely 
missed feature from the N64 era is Death Race 
mode, and while a similar event in Story mode 
almost makes up for it, there's just something 
special about the high-speed destruction derby 
that has made us dust off our N64s. As if there 
wasn't already enough to keep you occupied, 
tickets won in events can be used to upgrade your 
created craft and unlock plenty of new ships in the 
F-Zero Shop, though getting them all will take a 
fair few Championship victories. 

One of the major criticisms that has been 
^ levelled at GXby the Japanese has been that 
it is just too fast - however, we beg to differ. 
While the excessive speeds on some courses 
can approach eye-melting territory, this only 
becomes a problem on a couple of tracks, and 
even then it only encourages better course 
knowledge and use of boosts. As with a few recent 
Japanese titles though, F-Zero does 
quickly reach an insane level of difficulty and 
while you'll probably breeze through Novice and 
see off Standard quickly enough, Expert level 
and above will have you tearing your hair out 
for months to come. Story mode is much the 
same - each chapter has three levels of difficulty 
and let's just say that if you want to complete your 
garage, you'd better get practising. And practising. 
And practising... 




I Detail is slightly reduced in 

multiplayer (more so in 

three- and four-player) but 

speed and frame-rate don't 

suffer at all. 



WIPEOUT FUSION 





| 1 ■ r^^"~ 


1 


tdl 


BETTER THAN 




As import-friendly as the Japanese version is, 
^_\ by the time you read this F-Zero GXwill be 
gracing American shelves and be little over a month 
away from die-hard PAL gamers. Falling 
somewhere between the original and the N64 
update (albeit slightly closer to the latter), we're sure 
there will be those who claim this new F-Zero pales 
in comparison to its SNES grandfather, but while 
we will freely admit that it's somewhat removed, it's 
far from inferior. A deceptively deep title with a level 
of variety seldom seen in the genre, we can safely 
say that titles of this strength are a rarity, and as 
both a continuation of a well-loved series and 
a standalone racer, F-Zero GXis everything 
we hoped it would be. 




| Track splits like this are common on later courses, making your racing 
life that bit more confusing. 



VERDICT 9/10 



RAPIDLY APPROACHING RACING PERFECTION 



games™ 121 



REVIEW I TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 2004 1 XBOX/MULTIFORMAT 



5=0 


B 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 

OTHER FORMATS 

PS2, GC, PC, GBA 

ORIGIN 

US 

PUBLISHER 

Electronic Arts 
DEVELOPER 

EA Redwood Shores 



IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY, YOU WONT FIND ANY BIG SURPRISES 

TIGER WOODS 
PGA TOUR 2004 





TIGER WOODS 2003 



ver the years, Electronic Arts has 
earned itself a reputation for 
releasing updates of games with 
very little in the way of progression 
or change. Admittedly, it has started to make more 
of an effort but, unfortunately, the team behind 
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 must have missed 
the memo as this latest release is yet another 
annual update with minimal changes. While 
there's nothing inherently wrong with Tiger Woods 
2004, the series has boxed itself into a corner. 

Golf doesn't translate into the most complex of 
videogames and EA has recreated the controls 
to a, er, tee. Imitating a swing with the analogue 
stick is still as satisfying as ever, and the balance 
between control and room for error is nigh-on 
perfect. Even better, the multi player is excellent, 
inducing the right amount of swearing, agony and 
punching the air in triumph. However, the controls 
are almost exactly the same as before and it would 
have been nice to see a few more changes to keep 
the experience fresh. 

Speaking of changes, the big new addition is 
that you can now create a golfer for use in 



Career mode, teeing off against rivals and racking 
up the cash. You can then spend your winnings 
on attributes for your character or trivial things like 
celebrations and clothes - it's even possible to 
attract the attention of sponsors such as Adidas, 
who'll pay you to wear their sports gear. Throw in 
matches against real pros and it does feel like 
you're actually out on a professional golf circuit. 
Other than that though, the improvements are 
pretty much as you'd expect - just some new 
courses, new characters and so on. 

While there's no doubt that it's a solid golf 
game that's engrossing and fun, Tiger Woods 
PGA Tour 2004 just doesn't feel like a true sequel. 
Anyone who wants a golf game will have 
probably already played one of the previous 
iterations in the series - if you haven't, then now 
is the perfect time for your introduction to Tiger 
Woods. But if you're already a lucky owner 
of the last instalment, you should think 
carefully before parting with your cash. 




EA has lavished the PS2 
version with online options 
including leaderboards, 
weekly tournaments and 
private tournaments open to 
only the best players. This 
makes for the best version 
and, arguably, the only one 
that feels like a true sequel. 




VERDICT /10 



SOLID, BUT TOO SIMILAR TO LAST YEAR'S EFFORT 



The GameCube version links 
up with the Game Boy 
Advance so you can transfer 
winnings and unlock extra 
tournaments. It's a nice 
addition but, as with the 
Xbox version, still not 
enough to justify putting 
'2004' in the title. 




I Tiger's here, along with a load of other real-life PGA pro golfers, so those of you who like things more realistic are in for a treat. However, you can also 
create your own golfer and then show the professionals how it's done - although you shouldn't expect the same results in the real world. 



I Yes, it still all looks rather lovely. Unfortunately, there's not much more 
you can do with grass and sand when it already looks this nice. 



122 games™ 



REVIEW I SPLASHDOWN 2: RIDES GONE WILD I PLAYSTATION2 



I Basic stunts are all very well, but if it's big points you're after then 
you'll have to go for the more daring tricks after grabbing some air. 





Stereotypical levels abound - such as this rather obvious ice track. 



1 The tracks change mid-race -this ship explodes, for example, allowing you to race straight through a hole in the middle instead of having to go round. 



EI 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

PlayStation2 
ORIGIN 

US 



SPLASHDOWN 2: 

RIDES GONE WILD 

HOW MANY STEREOTYPES CAN YOU POSSIBLY FIT INTO ONE GAME? 




DEVELOPER 

Rainbow Studios 
PRICE 
£39.99 
RELEASE 

Out Now 

PLAYERS 

1-2 




uch like ice cream, videogame 
sequels come in several flavours - 
in particular, the always-popular 
Rehashed Original (mmm, tasty) or 
the exquisite Brand New Concept, which, sadly, is 
often too sweet for some developers' tastes. Of 
course, you can't always guess which you're going 
to get when you're dealing with titles that only did 
reasonably well first time out. Take Splashdown, 
for example: originally, the emphasis was on 
realism - not just of the water, but also the vehicle 
physics and course design. But with THQ taking 
the reins from Atari for the sequel, all realism has 
been thrown out of the window in favour of 
'scenes of fantasy' (as the disclaimer at the start of 
the game warns). What we now have is a distinctly 
arcadey racer packed with a selection of 'wacky' 
characters from the original, 'fantastic' courses and 
'thrilling' stunts. 'Great'. 

To be fair, the game's not actually that bad. 
^ Sure, it's packed with virtually every 
videogame stereotype (from cookie-cutter 
characters -token American, Brit, Irishman and so 
on - to obvious track settings such as ice, jungle 
and even a haunted castle) and doesn't do much 
over most other water-based race games, but for 



what it is, that's no bad thing. What you're getting 
is a fast and relatively action-packed water-based 
arcade racer that's more wacky than something 
like Wave Race: Blue Storm and has stupidly over- 
the-top stunts but still enough realism in terms of 
the physics to make it worth a look over other 
'normal' racing titles. There are also plenty of 
unlockable secrets (from new tracks, vehicles and 
modes to a plethora of secret, even kookier 
characters) to keep you busy for ages, which 
again isn't bad, especially since opening them 
means mastering all the different track styles and 
difficulties in order to earn enough points. 



Unfortunately, while all this may look good 
^ on paper (especially when compared to the 
original), the fact remains that Splashdown is 
just above middle-of-the-road when it comes to 
the gameplay. It's fun but not groundbreaking, 
and enjoyable but not absorbing enough to 
keep you playing for more than a few 
hours at a time. Three words? It's a 
renter -simple as that. 



JET SKI RIDERS 



VERDICT 6/10 




RATHER BY-THE-NUMBERS, BUT STILL A LAUGH 



HYDRO THUNDER 



games™ 123 



REVIEW I SOUL CALIBUR II I PLAYSTATION2/MULTIFORMAT 



^r=^r- 


*T- > 






M 










3fe 


^^■^^ 


""▼ 






" ■ 


* J* 1 


x_ 




■ 


^^■^T \ 










OKAY, WE'RE CONFUSED - HOW CAN YOU MAKE A SIMPLE CONVERSION WORSE? 

W" SOUL CAUBUR II 






FORMAT REVIEWED 

PlayStation2 

OTHER FORMATS 

Xbox, GameCube 
ORIGIN 
Japan 
PUBLISHER 

Electronic Arts 
(PS2/Xb), 
Nintendo (GC) 

DEVELOPER 

Namco 
PRICE 
£39.99 
RELEASE 

26 September 

PLAYERS 

1-2 





ix months is a long time in gaming - 
enough time for publishers to 
announce a whole new range of 
games or developers to polish an 
average game into a diamond. Sadly, a six-month 
wait is also agony for gamers, particularly when 
the game you want is already out in Japan and 
you have to sit around like a lemon waiting for the 
PAL release. But at least you can be assured that 
eventually you'll get the same quality title - unless 
something happens to mess up the PAL release, of 
course. But that would never happen... would it? 

Don't get us wrong, we haven't suddenly 
^ decided that Soul Calibur II isn't all it's cracked 
up to be although, obviously, you could argue that 
point if you're willing to be petty enough and have 
a unhealthy passion for the earlier games in the 
series. However, we have to say that we're slightly 



concerned about a number of really annoying little 
things that stand out as being inferior to the 
Japanese release; things that are noticeable even if 
you're a Soul Calibur //virgin. Even worse, these 
are things that could have been fixed relatively 
easily- particularly since Namco has had six 
months to sort them out. 

But first, the good news. Just as the hype 
^ suggests, Soul Calibur II is a decent weapon- 
based beat-'em-up which has no equal on any of 
the current consoles. Although there are certainly 
enough similarities to say that it's more of an 
upgrade of the Dreamcast original rather than a 
full-blown sequel, that doesn't stop it from offering 
everything a good 3D beat-'em-up should have - 
plenty of moves, loads of flashy effects and more 
weapons than you can shake a pointy stick at. 
Namco has played it very cagily by improving on 




T^La^J ^^LHS9[HBSjCCJ V 1 


1 ij ~" "ItJP^ 



|^P§ 


lifidiflkt 




llJpfii 












TEKKEN 4 




I Ivy and her extendable Whip-Blade are back, although this time she appears to have e 
herself a whole new streak of viciousness - some of her moves are just plain nasty. 



I The new backgrounds are nice, but some (like the Windmill stage) are a bit too complex for 
their own good and end up providing nothing but extra slowdown to the proceedings. 



Q. SOUL 
CALIBUR 1.5? 

Pretty much, although 
that's not exactly terrible. 
The original game was 
great (although not as 
good as Soul Blade), so 
having just more of the 
same isn't all that bad. 
Well, sort of. 

Q. CHEAP AS CHIPS? 

If you're talking about the 
enemy Al, then yes; in 
comparison to the 'harsh 
but fair' difficulty of the 
import version, the PAL 
opponents fight as dirty 
as the day is long. 

Q. SPRECHEN SIE 
ENGLISCH? 

Unfortunately so, and the 
English voices are as 
uninspiring as you 
would expect -though, 
thankfully, you do have 
the option of putting 
them back to the 
original Japanese. 



124 games™ 




every single element of the original (from 
backgrounds and characters, through to the 
improved Weapon Master mode) rather than trying 
anything drastically new that could deter the fans. 
This, as you might expect, is mostly a good thing, 
although we can't help but think that some decent 
original characters rather than rehashes of old ones 
(and the awful Necrid) wouldn't have gone amiss. 

However, the PAL version of Soul Calibur II has 
^ its own share of problems to add to the ones 
that afflicted the import version. But unlike the very 
minor import issues such as slight clipping on the 
characters or some slowdown, these make more of 
a difference to the experience the game offers. This 
is mainly because they feature in other areas that 
have supposedly been 'improved' for the PAL 
release, but instead they just smack of laziness. The 
big sticking point for us has to be your opponents' 
Al - after complaints that the game was too easy 
for Japanese gamers, Namco has clearly done its 
best to enhance the difficulty. The result is, to be 
frank, a mess - computer opponents now just use a 
combination of constant blocking, impossible side- 
steps, unbalanced power attacks and unblockable 
ground strikes to dominate each fight, which makes 
playing alone far less enjoyable than it should be. 



Add to that the obviously last-minute decision to 
^ include three previously unavailable characters 
(minus much-needed and easily-put-together 
moves lists, that is) and it all makes for some poor 
choices on Namco's part. Even something as 
obvious as the character voices gives us cause for 
concern - not only are the English voices pretty 
average throughout, but many of the speech 
samples end up cutting each other off during 
particularly intense battles, making the whole thing 
seem rather scrappy. There is, however, the option 
to restore the original Japanese voices (at last, 
something to be thankful for). 

Of course, being practically uncontested in its 
^ field means that Soul Calibur II automatically 
becomes the leader of the pack and, to be fair, it's 
still a very enjoyable game when played against 
friends. However, it's because of those extra flaws 
that we feel compelled to bring the score down a 
notch. Considering this should have been a 
simple conversion, it's just not acceptable 
from a developer as experienced as this. 



ANOLDIE,BUTABADDIE 

As you work your way through the 

Weapon Master mode, you'll meet up with 

some enemies that might appear strangely 

familiar to anyone who's played the first 

Soul Calibur. It certainly takes a genius to 

pick Lizardman out of a crowd, and only 

the more observant amongst you will spot 

that Berserker and Assassin were also 

characters in the original, albeit it in the 

guises of Rock and Hwang respectively. 

When we first played the import version, 

we were slightly gutted that these three 

couldn't be unlocked as playable 

characters, so you can imagine our surprise 

when that suddenly changed for the PAL 

release. Of course, you can also imagine 

our dismay when we discovered that none 

of them had move lists - a real pain when, 

in order to learn how to play as someone, 

you need to know what they can do. 




VERDICT 7/10 



STILL ENJOYABLE, BUT WHY ALL THE EXTRA FLAWS? 



XBOX £39.99 26 SEPT 



The Xbox version 
shines with some 
nice visual effects. 
Control is also solid, 
although there's no 
denying that Spawn 
is probably the worst 
of the three unique 
characters on offer. 



GAM ECU BE £39.99 26 SEPT 



Possibly the best of 
the three when it 
comes to combining 
unique character 
choice, graphics and 
control - we'd take 
Link over Spawn or 
Heihachi any day of 
the week. 




games™ 125 



REVIEW I CONFLICT: DESERT STORM II I PLAYSTATION2/MULTIFORMAT 





1 


'. 


^^. ^hI 


i ■ 




-f*~ 


pi -r 


1 








e" 


_!* 


* 


=r^ 


1 






- "fc 


P^^^*n_fl| 






i 


i _,. , v a m 



PIVOTAL KEEPS THE CONFLICT COMING 



El 



SB 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

PlayStation2 
OTHER FORMATS 

Xbox, GameCube, PC 
ORIGIN 

UK 



CONFLICT: 
DESERT STORM 






RELEASE 

September '03 

(GC - November '03) 

PLAYERS 

1-2 



BRUTE FORCE 



e're sure we're not alone when we 
say that for a war-based title to be 
at all interesting in today's 
saturated market it has to be 
something really quite special. The industry has 
seen so many generic 'man/squad with gun(s)' 
games that even heavily hyped releases like Brute 
Force can easily turn out to be woefully average or 
worse. As a result, though, franchises can often 
fare better- Joe Public is far more likely to pick up 
a game with a recognised title and, as such, 
Conflict II is set in good stead by its accomplished 
predecessor. How ironic, then, that familiarity is 
both its major selling point and its biggest letdown. 

While we're normally keen to highlight the key 
^ differences that set a sequel apart from its 
predecessor, Pivotal has made this easy for us in 
that this is nigh-on identical to the first game. This 
isn't an entirely bad thing -the original was a good 
solid title and by improving Al, tweaking visuals 




and throwing in new weapons and effects, we're 
presented with an enjoyable experience that 
suffers from little more than familiarity. Sadly, the 
first game did have a tendency to get slightly 
repetitive so previous players may find some of 
this sequel's missions somewhat similar, though 
newcomers to the growing Conflict series should 
find it an impressive and absorbing experience 
despite a few technical problems. 

As expected, Conflict II looks and sounds the 
^ part - for a PS2 title it throws around some 
great effects (even if these can knock down the 
frame-rate with annoyingly frequency). Settings 
have been made more varied to try to combat the 
repetition in the first game, and while you are 
theoretically given the freedom to tackle tasks in 
different ways, much of the more corridor-based 
level design doesn't allow this. Still, Conflict II has 
a few aces to play by way of co-operative play 
(among other things) which makes for some of 
the best moments of the game. 

Ultimately, this offers little over the first Desert 
_| Storm other than a new campaign and several 
engine tweaks but given the game's setting, there's 
precious little more you could ask of it. Nothing 
groundbreaking, but if it's fun with guns 
you're after then few current squad-based 
titles provide it better than this. 




A little way off yet but if this is 
anything like the last game, 
the GameCube version could 
outshine all others. We'll have 
to wait and see but our 
fingers remain crossed... 




Offering slightly improved 
visuals and four-player co- 
operative potential, the Xbox 
version would be our version 
of choice if the game hadn't 
so clearly been designed with 
the PS2 pad in mind. 



■ 




CONFLICT DESERT 
STORM 



I It may not look like much, but the sandstorm effects look really rather 
lovely in motion. 



VERDICT 7/10 



MORE OF THE SAME BUT STILL GOOD FUN 



The trade-off for the obviously 
classy visuals is that there's 
no form of multiplayer 
whatsoever - a real shame 
considering this is one of 
Conflicts biggest strengths 



126 games™ 



REVIEW I OTOGI: MYTH OF DEMONS I XBOX 



FORMAT REVIEWED 

Xbox 



ORIGIN 

Japan 
PUBLISHER 
SEGA 
DEVELOPER 

FROM Software 
PRICE 
£39.99 
RELEASE 
Out Now 
PLAYERS 




OTOGI: MYTH 
OF DEMONS 

GHOST STORIES AND ANCIENT MYTHS COME TO LIFE. . . 





t's easy to accuse developers of 
reaching for the DVD shelf when 
trying to find inspiration for their 
latest videogame. However, with 
bullet-time and convoluted storylines around 
every digital corner, it's so hard not to. For that 
reason alone then, we're thankful that slash-'em- 
up Otogi: Myth Of Demons shuns Hollywood in 
favour of a far richer and more interesting 
resource pool closer home - the world of the 
Japanese spook story. 

Otogls roots are evident through the game, 
which explores ancient ghost fables by taking 
you from misty shipwrecks to floating islands. 
Eastern folklore also serves as the inspiration for 
the army of supernatural demons and ghouls 
throughout, all fastidiously designed and bringing 
the settings to life. The sound is unusually quiet, 
consisting mostly of ghostly bell chimes, only 
coming to life when battle begins. It's wonderfully 
atmospheric and gives Otogi a distinct, mystical 
feel that's almost as important as the gameplay. 

Even better, your character, Raikoh, is also 
^_\ somewhat ethereal - he can double jump, air 



dash and float to the ground, which can be 
combined with sword slashes for a simple-but- 
satisfying combat system. It's fortunate that the 
basics of fighting are easy to grasp, as Raikoh will 
often find himself outnumbered - add plenty of 
destructible scenery and all the ingredients are 
there for mayhem and carnage. Despite being 
based around ghost stories, this certainly isn't a 
survival horror game, as you'll realise when you 
smash yet another apparition through a wall. 

Unfortunately, the main problem is that Otogi 
tends to repeat itself. There are some attempts 
to keep the objectives diverse (keeping a ship 
afloat, destroying a water tower and so on) but the 
core gameplay remains the same - hack and slash 
until you win. Even with the options to buy new 
weapons and level up between stages, it doesn't 
provide the depth that's needed. But Otogi should 
be applauded for trying something different. 
Anyone looking for a new gaming 
experience won't be too disappointed. 



VERDICT /IP 



A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE, HAMPERED BY REPETITION 




■ Learning how to dash in the air and stay there is a key part of 
mastering the more stylish and effective combos. 




■■ 








w 


* 


* 










RL«.*! 






L ^^^ 













CHAOS LEGION 




DYNASTY WARRIORS 4 



Fighting on the ground is every bit as effective as aerial combat 
although it doesn't feel quite as rewarding. 




I Most things in the game be destroyed; for example, that ship won't 
be able to withstand an enemy smacked into its side. . . 



games™ 127 



i 



r 



ww ""V3i;-L 



immm 



P 

PIT 



!■ - 



\w 






i a 






fa 



That ain't no kind of turtle I've ever seen... Contra III: The Alien Wars SNES [Konami] 1992 



ft 



A PArMQOd PUElUCAriOf] 



MICRO GAMES ACTION 



\EATEST 
GAME 



THE GREA1 

RETRO 

EVER M ADE! 

Anyone fancy a 
game of Pong? 



*? 



'^P4 



SJA^u4.^^ 



.INSIDE! 





Apparently the 
Dreamcast is dead. 

Hardware production was 
halted a while back and no 
new games are released 
here in the UK (though it 
isn't difficult to find 
second-hand machines). 
However, over in Japan it's 
quite a different story; 
production of the 
hardware may have 
ceased there too, but 
games are still released on 
a regular basis - some of 
which make it into the 
multiformat charts. 

Of course, gaming 
culture in Japan is a little 
different from Europe and 
the US in that it's been part 
of everyday life there for 
much longer. Being that bit 
more mature, it seems that 
Japan's industry is far 
more forgiving of poor 
console sales, providing 
that the system itself offers 
the developer a decent 
working environment. Just 
look at the GameCube - 
while European stores are 
clearing out their Nintendo 
games, shops in Japan are 
awaiting a tidal wave of 
quality GameCube titles. 

With that in mind, then, 
it perhaps isn't too 
surprising that a handful 
of new Japanese titles 
have just been announced 
for both the Dreamcast 
and SNK's 12-year-old 
Neo-Geo home system... 

Keith Edwards, Retro Editor 



R»E»T»R'C 



FllUllllin WHAT'S 60ING 

mmmmmsum 
mmnmm... 



I CHAOS COMES HOME 

SNK Playmore confirms console translations of its new fighter 



i 



With SNK Playmore's latest 
creation, SNK Vs. Capcom 
Chaos, running on the Neo-Geo MVS 
arcade board, it was always a 
possibility that a conversion would 
find its way to the Neo-Geo home 
system. Aside from one or two 
memory issues, the porting process 
would be relatively painless seeing 
as the architecture is nigh-on 
identical, though it was thought that 
such a move simply might not be 
financially viable. 

Well, amazingly, the company has 
confirmed that an AES conversion will 
arrive at the beginning of October, 




priced at ¥39,800 (approximately 
£205). No additional features have 
been confirmed at the time of writing, 
and judging by the enormous amount 
of memory required for the main 
game, it's unlikely that too much more 
will be added on top of the standard 
arcade code. 

However, for anyone who can't 
afford to shell out upwards of £200 
for the game, SNK Playmore has 
also confirmed that PS2 and Xbox 
versions of the game are in the 
works and will be released in the New 
Year. Hopefully, these will include 
bonus features. 



L^, - ■ .-^ 


—m*_ 


kk vl> 


ua p _ ^ 




p JSm 


^^E ^^fc-. 




■ — ^^y^** i. 




^V^" -. (*.< 


PHP^ 4 



Still hanging onto that trusty Neo-Geo home system? Don't let go yet because you'll be getting a dose of SNK Vs. 
Capcom Chaos in the near future. You'll need to take out a loan first, though. . . 



I DREAM ON 



i 



Although the Dreamcast is still 
receiving new software titles in 
Japan, hard-core gamers have been 
particularly excited by the recent 
announcement of Border Down - 
and old-school shoot-'em-up from 
G-Rev. Similar to Treasure's Ikaruga, 
the game was initially released on 
the SEGA Naomi arcade board last 
year and features a blend of 
polygons and 2D parallax scrolling 
backgrounds to create a pseudo 
3D look. 

Launching on 25 September in 
Japan, lucky gamers will have the 
opportunity to pick up a limited 
number of Border Down mousemats 



and soundtrack CDs when they buy 
the Dreamcast version of the game. 
Expect to be seeing copies of Border 
Down, along with the limited edition 
merchandise, appearing on eBay at 
hugely inflated prices very soon. 





High Spirits 

Samurai Shodown rises 
from the grave 

No sooner has SVC Chaos hit 
Japanese arcades and SNK 
Playmore has already confirmed 
its next project - Samurai Spirits 
Zero (Samurai Shodown Zero in 
the West). Again running on the 
Neo-Geo MVS arcade board, this 
latest instalment in the Samurai 
Spirits series is set to include 24 
fighters, as well as a completely 
revamped control system. 

This time around, Hard Slash 
is activated by pressing Weak 
and Medium Slash 
simultaneously, freeing up a 
button for a new action called 
Meditation. Using this in 
conjunction with other moves 
enables brand new abilities 
such as Enlightenment - a 
mode in which move 
combinations are carried out in 
slow motion. Samurai Spirits 
Zero is expected to hit Japanese 
arcades this autumn. 



A Expect Japanese Dreamcast owners to snap up 
Border Down- it's like Ikaruga only sideways. . . 



F*>TBF 


r 




P* 


'*u 


■ A ■ \ 


1 


?im' 






■ i™ 34 






m ' IlJ 








ia ' 


mi 




▲ Samurai Spirits Zero will have new fighters 





132 



R*E*T*R*0< 



R*E*T*R*0< 



R*E*T*R*0 



this Month In 




GREAT MOVIES 
IN 1983 (AMERICA) 



1. Star Wars: 
Return Of The Jedi 

Grossed $309,125,409 

2. Flashdance 
Grossed $94,900,000 

3. Octopussy 
Grossed $67,900,000 

4. Superman III 
Grossed $60,000,000 

5. Never Say Never Again 
Grossed $55,500,000 

6. The Dead Zone 
Grossed $20,766,000 

7. Monty Python's The 
Meaning Of Life 
Grossed $12,565,000 

8. The Man With Two 
Brains 

Grossed $10,100,000 

9. Merry Christmas 
Mr. Lawrence 
Grossed N/A 

10. Krull 
Grossed N/A 



Ah, 1983 -the year 
when the Jedi 
returned, Mario Bros 
made its debut in 
arcades and Bonnie 
Tyler went to number 
one with Total Eclipse 
Of The Heart. Twenty 
years on, Star Wars 
and Mario are still 
going strong, but 
where's our Bonnie? 



UK CHARTS 
, FOR SEPT 1983 

1. Red Red Wine 

UB40 

2. Wings Of A Dove 

Madness 

3. Tonight I Celebrate 
My Love 

Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack 

4. What Am I Gonna Do 
Rod Stewart 

5. Mama 
Genesis 

6. Walking In The Rain 
Modern Romance 

7. Give It Up 

KC &The Sunshine Band 

8. The Sun Goes Down 
(Living It Up) 

Level 42 

9. Karma Chameleon 
Culture Club 

10. Gold 
Soandau Ballet 



I, USUI Itifl/A'Ki 




The FCC says okay to Adam 



It was this month in 1983 that the 
Federal Communications 
Commission (FCC) gave Coleco 
the go ahead to start producing its 
Z80-based home computer, the 
Adam. Coleco had released a popular 
games console called the 
Colecovision just over a year 
previously, and saw the Adam as the 
next step in its business plan. While 
consoles were certainly popular with 
children, it was thought that parents 
would more readily spend money on 
a computer that could also be used 
for schoolwork. Unfortunately, things 
wouldn't run as smoothly as planned. 

The system had been unveiled at 
the Summer Consumer Electronics 
Show in June 1983 and was expected 
to launch that August for $600 (£370). 
Unfortunately, a number of 
unforeseen problems with production 
meant that the manufacturing costs 
were slowly rising, while the industry 
was becoming disheartened by the 
delays. By September, however, the 
press, along with a handful of 
financial advisers, were invited to the 
Coleco headquarters to witness the 
hardware coming off the production 
line. The event itself was successful 
enough, though further problems 
meant that the launch was delayed 
until October, when just 400,000 of 
the planned 500,000 units were ready. 




^ Good for games and schoolwork. Yeah, right. . . 

Eventually going on sale at $700 
(£430), the Adam launched in the 
third week of October and came 
packaged with a tape drive, keyboard 
and daisywheel printer. Interestingly, 
the system was compatible with 
existing Colecovision game tapes and 
cartridges, though it was its built-in 
word processing software that 
attracted consumers. Unfortunately, 
the market was in a poor state during 
1983, and by the end of the year just 
100,000 units had been sold. 

Coleco continued to support the 
Adam throughout 1984, though sales 
remained unspectacular. This, 
combined with a huge number of 
faulty machines, saw the company 
making a loss of $80 million (£50 
million), and by the end of 1984, on 
the verge of bankruptcy, the 
company pulled out of the computer 
games industry altogether. 



/ WORLD NEWS 



i 



MASSIVE MAZE BREAK OUT 

Cn 25 September 1983, 38 
prisoners escaped from the 
Maze high-security jail near Lisburn, 
Northern Ireland. Led by Dermot 
Finucane, the inmates used smuggled 
knives and guns against staff before 
driving to the main gate in a stolen 
food lorry. One prison officer was 
killed during the break out, while 
another was hospitalised with a 
gunshot wound to the head. 

A massive police search was 
initiated immediately and 19 of the 
escapees were recaptured within a 
few days of the incident. Another 
eight were located over the next nine 
years (three of whom were killed in 




► The infamous Maze prison has now been closed. 

ambushes), but the remaining 11 
have never been found. The Maze 
was closed in September 2000 and 
the remaining prisoners were 
transferred to other jails. 



133 




THIS MONTH'S 
FAVOURITES 

Just a few of the classic retro 
titles that have been blistering 
our thumbs this month. . . 

ECCO THE DOLPHIN 

With Appaloosa unveiling its new 
shark game, Sole Predator, this month 
we thought we'd revisit the original 
Ecco game. And it's still looking good 
aft er all these years. 



■YEEjjgSSSp 



CASTLE OF ILLUSION 

Although it's far too short and easy, 
playing Castle Of Illusion this month 
reminded us of just how pure and 
inoffensive videogames could be. 



^SSfir 




Ul.ll 


v; 


E3 



OUTRUN 

Yu Suzuki and his team are going to 
have to work hard if they want Out 
Run2to better the oriqinal arcade 



game - its aamn Tasi ana siiKy smooin. 






. ktte. 


^^l^r"— 


~ 



BUST-A-MOVE 

This is one game that spawned far to 
many pointless sequels. As a 
standalone title though, there are few 



■■■■ 
■VSt' 'A 

"-■■""■-#■ 





Released: 1996 
Publisher: SEGA 
Developer: Sonic Team 
Format: Saturn 



n 



One title that we'd love to see 
remade is NiGHTS Into 
Dreams, Sonic Team's bizarre 
Saturn action adventure game. The 

game takes place in the surreal realm 
of Nightopia, in which the laws of 
physics don't apply. Playing as either 
Elliot or Claris (two human children 
who possess the spiritual essence of 
courage), your Ideyas (coloured orbs 
representing hope, purity, courage 
and so on) are taken by Nightmarians. 
Luckily, by entering the Ideya Palace 
it's possible to transform into Nights - 
jester-like creatures that can fly. Once 
in this guise, your aim is simply to 
collect 20 blue chips from around the 
level then take them to the Ideya 
Capture to destroy it within the time 
limit. Confused? Despite the 
somewhat complex background 
story, NiGHTS is actually a lot of fun. 

The problem with NiGHTS, of 
course, was that as a SEGA Saturn 
game it was largely ignored by most 
of the Western gaming community - 
a factor that almost certainly affected 
SEGA's decision not to make a 
follow-up. Why spend time and 
money developing a game that could 
well be ignored twice? And yet a 






NiGHTS remake has been rumoured 
for months now, though so far SEGA 
won't confirm or deny this. With the 
company currently undergoing an 
internal restructure, the chances are 
that such a project could well be 
announced in the coming months. 
Reports from Japan suggest that 
part of this restructure will see Sonic 
Team merging with UGA, the team 
behind the psychedelic rhythm-based 
shoot-'em-up Rez. If this does go 
ahead, we could see the rise of one 
of the most creative development 
studios around - surely the perfect 
team to create a new NiGHTS game? 



SNOW 

LAUGHING 

MATTER 



Although SEGA has had to tighten its 
belt recently, there was a time when it 
would release all sorts of quirky 
merchandise for its Japanese fans. In 
November 1996, Sonic Team launched 
Christmas NiGHTS- a shorter, 
graphically rearranged version of the 
main game that rewarded players with 
bonus prizes for finishing it. As only a 
few discs were released, Christmas 
NiGHTS is now quite sought-after. 




.next best thing 



PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 

Although it wasn't a complete game, a 
Game Boy Advance version of NiGHTS 
Into Dreamswas available to download 
from the GameCube version of Phantasy 
Star Online. 

Replacing all the polygons with 
sprites and 2D side-scrolling layers, GBA 
NiGHTS mimicked the Saturn game 



EPISODE I & II 

extremely closely, hinting that a 
handheld version of the game may have 
been in the pipeline. 

Sadly, although GC Phantasy Star 
Online launched in America almost a 
year ago, SEGA still hasn't confirmed 
whether a full-length portable version of 
NiGHTSvj'iW ever be released. 



■ur 




e d love to see a handheld version of NiGHTS. 



134 games 




A complementary title to Capcom's 
Street Fighter series? Or merely an overly 
violent gore-fest aimed at 13 year olds? 



Although most hard-core 
gamers continue to argue 
that Street Fighter II is the 
all-time king of beat-'em-ups, 
Midway's Mortal Kombat games 
have certainly received plenty of 
praise over the years. Launching in 
the arcades in 1991, it wasn't difficult 
to see why the original game 
provoked so much attention. From a 
visual standpoint it was certainly one 
of the more creative titles around - 
rather than hand-drawn sprites, the 
game featured digitised actors and 
martial arts experts, giving it a far 
more realistic look than other similar 
titles. Of course, this wasn't the first 
time such imagery had been used in 
a videogame - Pit Fighter, for 
example, which had launched two 
years previously, featured similarly 
styled visuals, though the overall 
effect was a little less refined. 

Aside from its graphics though, 
there was another thing for which 
Mortal Kombat became well-known - 




▲ Ooh, controversial. Yet oddly unsatisfying. 




its shocking level of violence. Huge 
drops of crimson liquid would spurt 
from the characters whenever moves 
connected, while the infamous 'Death 
Moves' would see heads ripped off 
with the spines still attached and 
pumping hearts torn out of chests. 
Then, of course, there was the pit full 
of spikes in which unlucky losers 
would often find themselves impaled 
amongst decapitated heads and 
rotting corpses. Unsurprisingly, such 
levels of graphic violence resulted in 
Mortal Kombat getting more than its 
fair share of column inches in the 











'J 






w\ 




V^Tfc 





k. You want blood? You got it Buckets of the stuff. 



▲ "A pint? That's nearly an armful" etc. . . 

tabloid press, and the game soon 
became a household name. 

But underneath all the gore and 
showiness it's debatable whether or 
not Midway's creation offered a 
gaming experience to match its closest 
rival, Street Fighter II. While Capcom's 
game featured a range of balanced 
fighters, each with a selection of skill- 
based special moves and combos, 
Mortal Kombat relied far more heavily 
on quick jabs and cheesy leg sweeps. 
Of course, each of the characters had 
their own list of moves, though they 
tended to range from being far too 
powerful to utterly pointless. 

A further blow came in the form of 
the SNES version, in which all the 
blood and most of the gore had been 







■HmJ, 

. ■ 4 




B 




. 


< 


*fT1 




"f i 


* 









removed to appease Nintendo (at the 
time the company was still very family 
orientated). Without its token violence, 
it was blatantly obvious just how 
shallow Mortal Kombat really was; 
next to the sublime console 
conversion of Street Fighter II Turbo 
there really didn't seem to be an awful 
lot to master. Still, that didn't stop 
Midway from creating more than half 
a dozen sequels and spin-offs. 



LAST MONTH'S AMSTRAD CPC SCREENSHOTS 


Too young to remember the Amstrad CPC 464? Don't worn 


y, at least you 


11 know what last month's games were. . . 


^^^^m |=Ud-Ud;J-UU HSIIdridallH 


Hiiiiamaiiiii 


1 IdlBHEIdHllH d=l=iii"lr.-lll IdldEHEIdHllll 


Daley Thompson's Beyond The Ice Palace Operation Wolf 


Bobo 


By Fair Means Or 


Everyone's A Wally After The War 


Solomon's Key 


Decathlon Renegade Extreme 


Cybernoid 


By Foul 


Castle Master Fantastic Voyage 


Afterburner 


Double Dragon BMX Simulator Killerball 


Cauldron 


Ikari Warriors 


Oh Mummy Arkanoid: Revenge 


Rainbow Islands 


Rampage Spy Vs Spy II: The Sho Rjder 
Bad Dudes Vs Island Caper J\a /q ™ 


P-47: The Freedom 


Ball Bearing 


APB OfDoh 


Auf Wiedersehen 


Fighter 


Ninja Scooter 


SAS Combat Wonderboy 


Monty 


Dragon Ninja Solomon's Key Off Shore Warrior 


The Eidolon 


Simulator 


Simulator Prince Of Persia 


Chicken Chase 


Little Computer People Head Over Heels Commando 


Jack The Nipper 


North And South 


First Past The Post Teenage Mutant 


Savage 


Hammer Boy Krystal Kingdom Dizzy Gauntlet 


Exolon 


Golden Axe 


Dominator Hero Turtles 


The Sentinel 


Harvey Headbanger Run The Gauntlet Feud 


Trantor 


Thundercats 


Eliminator Chase HQ 


Garfield: Big Fat 


Fernandez Must Die Mickey Mouse Robocop 


Batman 


The Sacred Armour 


Rick Dangerous The Trap Door 


Hairy Deal 


Dan Dare 3: The Escape Power Drift Nebulus 


Roland On The Ropes 


Of Antiriad 


Fruit Machine Space Harrier 


Obi iterator 


Dungeons, Amethysts, 




Platoon 


Simulator Klax 


Escape From 


Alchemists 'n' Everythin' 




Spindizzy 




Singe's Castle 



games™ 135 




Some films are made into games, but some 
games get to star in the movies. This month we 
take a look at Mallrats and Chasing Amy - two 
memorable movies in which director Kevin Smith 
cast his favourite SEGA Hockey games. 



Unlikely candidates as they 
may seem, this month's 
Oscar nominees come in 
the form of All Star Hockey on the 



i movie Trivia 



FACT: Kevin Smith regularly 
includes hockey references 
in his movies - and it's always 
the Hartford Whalers that are 
the featured team. 
GOOF: Despite Brodie 
insisting that it's the middle of 
the second half of his hockey 
game in Mallrats there are 
actually just a few seconds left 
on the clock. Or, er, so we've 
been told. By geeks. 



SEGA Saturn and NHLPA '93 on the 
SEGA Mega Drive. Under the 
direction of self-proclaimed hockey 
fan Kevin Smith (who appears in 
many of his movies as Silent Bob), 
SEGA's All Star Hockey game on the 
Saturn had its moment of glory in 
one of the pivotal scenes of Mallrats. 

Near to the beginning of the 
movie, main man Brodie (Jason 
Lee) gets dumped by his girlfriend 
while lovingly clutching a SEGA 
Saturn controller in his sweaty 
palms. His addiction to playing All 
Star Hockey is a huge factor in the 
breakdown of his relationship (after 
all, hell hath no fury like a woman 
scorned for SEGA) and thus the 
storyline for the whole movie is set 
in motion. 




▲ Holden and Banky found that NHLPA was an 
unlikely catalyst for sexual exploration. Result 

Our second star game award this 
month goes to NHLPA '93 on the 
Mega Drive, thanks to its wonderful 
performance in Chasing Amy (also 
directed by Kevin Smith). The 
game's big scene sparks off a 
debate about homosexuality, during 
which Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) 
admits that he's in love with his 
lesbian friend, Alyssa Jones (Joey 
Lauren Adams). 




Amazingly, NHLPA went through 
no formal acting training for the part, 
but has since had to deal with being 
typecast as a 'gay' game... whatever 
that might be. 



> 



r^> ( 

( <^ ooool 



_y v_^ v^^^l^z^v^ 



BOB THE FISH - EARTHWORM JIM 2% \ k j 



When the first game in the 
series had pitted our 
invertebrate hero against such 
unlikely felons as a bounty- 
hunting crow, a heap of rubbish 
and an evil cat named Evil, we 
weren't expecting anything 
close to sanity from the sequel. 

Suffice to say, Earthworm 
Jim 2 exceeded all our 
expectations, confronting the 
player with a boss battle so 
absolutely farcical that no arch- 
enemy has since come close. 
One of the tougher bosses in 
the first game. Bob the Fish, 
returns at the end of the first 
level to continue his wave of 
finned tyranny, but this time 
around let's just say Bob isn't 
such a threat. . . 




Equipped with his trademark 
Power Suit, Jim negotiates the 
usual menagerie of beasties - as 
well as a horde of stairlift-ridden 
old ladies and Bob's many 
guardians - to reach the end of the 
opening stage only to find his 
scaly foe lying in wait, literally a 
fish out of water. Well, almost. 

Protected by a mere glass 
sphere and several litres of water, 
the gilled villain doesn't stand a 




▲ Do worms eat fish? Hell, they do now. And they do it with such style. 



chance against our annelid hero. 
No fancy button combos or tricky 
patterns here - after the huge 
'Fight!' prompt, Jim simply sidles 
up to the fishbowl and plunges his 
hand into the liquid, snagging the 



wicked fish and swiftly 
swallows him whole. 

Simple? Yes. Anticlimactic? 
Perhaps. But in terms of surreal 
ingenuity, very little comes close 
to this mismatch of the century. 



136 games™ 




tari 2600, 52 



mencan advertiser 



games™ 137 







.m 



3DO INTERACTIV 
MULTIPLAYER 



iocmanATinmc DESCRIBED BY ITS CREATOR AS "MORE STIMULATE 



SPECIFICATIONS 



CPU: ARM60 32-bit RISC CPU 
CPU Speed: 12.5Mhz 
Memory: DRAM - 2MB 

VRAM -1MB 
Resolution: 640x480 
GPU: 2 x graphics animation 

co-processors 
GPU Speed: 25Mhz 
GPU Capabilities: 20,000 

polygons per second 

Texture mapping 

Transparency 

Sprite scaling effects 

(enlargement rotation etc.) 
Sound: Custom 16-bit digital 

signal processor (25Mhz) 

32 channels 

44.1 Khz sampling rate 
Input/Output Composite video, 

S-Video RF 
Other: Double-speed CD-Rom 

drive 
32KB battery back-up memory 

for game saves 
Singular controller port 
Audio CD & CD-G compatible 
Photo-CD compatible 



DESCRIBED BY ITS CREATOR AS "MORE STIMULA. .. 

MIND THAN ANY NEW TECHNOLOGY SINCE PRINTING", THE 3DO 

LOOKED SET TO BE THE NEXT BIG THING. SO WHAT WENT WR. 



Launched in the US in October 
1993, the 3DO Interactive 
Multiplayer looked set to be a 
sure-fire hit. The machine was the 
collaborative work of seven 
respectable electronics companies 
including Matsushita (aka 
Panasonic), and with EA founder 
William Trip' Hawkins at the helm, 
it seemed the system couldn't fail. 
However, it soon became clear that 
there were several major factors 
that would prevent the 3DO from 
ever achieving the sort of success of 
which it was theoretically capable. 

The $700 (£442) price tag 
immediately deterred most potential 
buyers, irrespective of what games 
were on the machine and how 
many extra functions were available. 
Two further problems came in the 
form of SEGA and Sony, which were 



both in the process of developing 
more powerful consoles for release a 
year later. This had a knock-on effect 
with regards to third-party software 
developers, many of whom steered 
clear of the 3DO in favour of the two 
forthcoming Japanese systems. Of 
course, you could hardly blame them 
for being cautious - the machine was 
launched at a time when developers 
around the world were struggling to 
stay afloat. 

Despite facing such difficulties, the 
3DO still played an important role in 
gaming history. Not only did it bridge 
the gap between the demise of 2D 
and the introduction of 3D, but it was 
also a fairly accurate indication of 
where the console industry would go 
in the future. Although it seemed 
misguided at the time, the creation 
of a multi-function entertainment 



"WHY I LOVE 
THE3D0" 

Selling my American SNES 
(with 40 classic games) in 
order to buy an imported 3DO 
seemed like a good idea at the 
time, but we all make mistakes. 
Disappointed as I was though, 
spending Christmas day 1994 
playing The Need For Speed 
and Road Rash is now a 
treasured memory that I'd be 
without had I not been such a 
mindless fool. 

Keith Edwards 



system (that was not only 
compatible with games but also with 
audio, photo and video CDs) is like 
the consoles of today featuring DVD 
movie playback and network gaming. 



^ 




The machine may not have been the 
greatest success in the world, but it did 
have a few good games to its name 



THE NEED FOR SPEED 



Publisher: Electronic Arts 
Year: 1994 
~~ Ithough additional 3D 

processing power has given 
racing games a boost in recent 
years, there are few titles that blend 
realism and fun as well as The 
Need For Speed did back in 1994. 
Competing against a single rival, 



the game wasn't particularly 
smooth or fast, but featured 
winding country roads, an 
astonishing draw distance and 
some of the most impressive car 
crashes seen in a videogame to 
date. Unfortunately, none of the 
follow-ups have been anywhere 
near as impressive. 



j i 



ROAD RASH 

Publisher: Electronic Arts 
Year: 1994 

By using a mix of sprites and 
polygons, EA was able to keep 
3DO Road Rash running fast and 
smoothly. Although the concept 
hadn't changed a great deal from 
the earlier Mega Drive games, this 



incarnation featured lengthier tracks 
as well as graphics that many 
described as 'photo realistic'. The 
game also featured licensed tracks 
by Soundgarden and Swervedriver, 
though hardware limitations meant 
that the machine couldn't play 
them during the races. 



SUPER STREET 
FIGHTER II TURBO 

Publisher: Capcom 
Year: 1994 

Looking far more authentic 
than the SNES incarnation of 
Super Street Fighter II, 3DO SSFII 
Turbo featured practically all the 
animation frames from the 
original arcade game. It also 
boasted Qsound and remixed 
music tracks that people seemed 
to love or hate in equal numbers. 
Sadly, a lack of processor power 
meant that many of the parallax 
layers had been removed from 
the scrolling backgrounds, giving 
the game a flatter look than the 
coin-op version. 



A Well, it's better than the SNES conversion, but 
it /son the 3D0. Can't have everything, eh? 



RETURN FIRE 

Publisher: 3DO 
Year: 1994 

i ased around a simple 'capture 
the flag' theme, Return Fire 
was one of the few 3DO games 
that helped the format to attract 
a wider audience. Played from a 
bird's-eye point of view, a range 
of vehicles were on offer, 
including tanks and helicopters, 
each bringing a slightly different 
flavour to the experience. Best of 
all, the game featured a sublime 
two-player split-screen battle 
mode, which instantly gave 
Return Fire a longevity far beyond 
that of most similar titles. 



TfT 



SAMURAI 
SHODOWIM 

Publisher: BMG 

Year: 1994 

"1 ike Capcom's Super Street 

Fighter II Turbo, 3DO Samurai 
Shodown looked closer to the 
original arcade game than any of 
the other console conversions. 
Unfortunately, the 3DO hardware 
wasn't well-suited to running 
complex 2D routines, and 
because all the scaling effects had 
been included along with all the 
animation the program didn't 
move things as smoothly as the 
IMeo-Geo version. Thankfully, 
these drawbacks didn't affect the 
gameplay to any great extent. 



▲ For an apparently all-powerful machine, the 
3D0 struggled with some visual effects. 



A You fancy capturing some flags? You'll be 
wanting a play of Return Fire then. . . 



CRASH 'INI BURN 

Publisher: Crystal Dynamics 
Year: 1994 

Comparable to Wipeout on the 
PlayStation, Crash 'NBurn 
was a high-speed futuristic racer 
for the 3DO. Developed by Crystal 
Dynamics, the game suffered from 
short, uninspired tracks and iffy 
controls, though the slickness of 
the graphics engine was more than 
enough to generate public interest. 
For a while, Crash TV Burn was 
packaged with the 3DO in America 
and the revenue generated gave 
Crystal Dynamics part of the 
funding to create its Legacy Of 
Kain adventure series. 




▲ This was a fairly impressive racer but the 
tracks were nothing special. 



139 



sonic 



QigiTAI M»iB 




* 













Though it may seem an 
obvious choice. Pong could 
be the greatest retro game 
of all time for the most 
unlikely reasons... 



P*0'N'G 



Format: Arcade, Atari 2600, 
GBC, Macintosh, PC, PSone 
Publisher: Atari 
Developer: In-House 
Price: fVaries 
Release date: 1972 


1 


1 

1 


1 
1 








1 


j pond 


I 1 ■ 

1' 


A, 

ATARI 

I" 







Pong and on and on... 

Okay, so things have moved on since Pong was released in 1972, but have 

they really progressed that far? While new technology allows for all kinds of 

impressive new graphical capabilities, many games still rely on the winning 

formula of reflex-testing target hitting (even things like Air Hockey). And 

when you look at something WkeVirtua Tennis, you have to wonder if that's 

what Willy Higginbotham meant to make, but lacked the technology... 



. eleased in November 1972, 
. Pong truly was one of the 
— ' first mass-market computer 
games, thanks to its simplistic 
yet thoroughly enjoyable 
gameplay. As perhaps the most 
famous coin-op of all time, you're 
probably aware that the aim was 
simply to keep a ball in play, much 
like tennis. This was achieved by 
moving a small deflector up and 
down your side of the screen by 
twisting a dial known as a paddle. 

Contrary to popular belief though, 
Pong wasn't actually the first game 
to do this. Computer engineers had 
been creating basic interactive 
programs since the early Fifties, but 
the enormous manufacturing costs, 
combined with the unreliability of 
such early technology, had meant 
that general release simply wasn't an 
option. As the years passed, 
however, the technology gradually 
became more stable, and in 1958 an 
employee of the Brookhaven 



■ Pong. Or a lonely ugly person. 

I National Laboratories, Willy 

I Higginbotham, created Tennis For 

I Two. Practically identical to Pong, 

I Tennis For Two was a simplistic and 

I really rather abstract representation 

I of a tennis match, designed to be 

I played by two people. Enjoyable as it 

I was, the system was only up and 

I running for two years before it was 

I dismantled and the parts reused for 

I other projects. 

I It would be more than a decade 

I before the technological 

| advancements made during the 

| Fifties would be used to create a 

| general release amusement product, 

| the first being Computer Space. 

| Designed by Nolan Bushnell (who 

| would later go on to produce Pong), 

| the gameplay consisted of little more 

| than blowing up UFOs in a rocket 

| ship - a task which, for some reason, 

I was a little too complicated for early 

I gamers. The machine was a flop. 




► Okay, they look different but they're essentially Pong tarted up a bit Kind of. 



I It was also during 1971 that 

| Magnavox signed an agreement to 

I manufacture the first home 

[ videogame console, the Odyssey. 

■ Developed during the Sixties under 

| the name of Brown Box, the Odyssey 

I was designed by 'the father of 

j videogames', Ralph Baer, who 

■ pioneered gaming throughout the 
| Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. The 

I system eventually went on sale the 

j same year that Pong was launched at 

■ a whopping $100 (approximately £62) 
j and came packaged with six games, 

I one of which was a simple tennis 

J game. Interestingly, Bushnell had 

■ played the game at one of the 

| preview showings of the Odyssey 

I and was clearly influenced by it. 
[ So why suggest that Pong could 

■ be the 'greatest retro game ever' if it 
| merely copied other games that had 



gone before it? Well, the answer is 
purely down to the inordinate level 
of success that the coin-op enjoyed 
compared to other similar projects, 
and compared to Magnavox's 
virtually forgotten Odyssey game. 
Numerous stories report how Pong 
machines would regularly break 
down due to being overloaded with 
quarters, and that punters would 
queue up outside bars just to have 
a go on it. 

As games go then, Pong pretty 
much single-handedly proved that 
electronic gaming was a credible 
form of entertainment, and one that 
could, in fact, generate an enormous 
profit. Perhaps if it hadn't done so 
well, fewer companies would 
have begun creating videogames, 
and many great titles may never 
have existed. 



142 games™ 



Whatever 



The M2 Accelerator 



First it was an add-on, then a standalone console 
and an arcade machine. Then it was cancelled. So 
what happened to the 64-bit machine that would 
"change the way people play, learn and interact"? 



^_ ^ ^^ 



Although the 3DO Interactive 
Multiplayer failed to become 
the multimedia family 
entertainment system that Trip 
Hawkins hoped, he wasn't going to 
back down after one failed attempt. 
In August 1994, less than four 
months before the Japanese launch 
of the PSone, 3DO announced that it 
was in the process of developing a 
64-bit add-on for the 3D0 console. 
The M2 Accelerator promised to 
deliver substantial polygon-pushing 
power beyond that of the original 
machine and the new SEGA and 
Sony consoles. The problem was that 
while a million polygons per second, 
high-resolution imagery and filtered 
textures sounded great, the poor 
sales of the 3DO meant few third- 
party developers were interested. 



Despite this, 3DO soldiered on with 
its new technology, though just over 
a year later Matsushita (aka 
Panasonic) bought the rights to the 
M2 project for $100 million (£62 
million). By that time a few titles were 
nearing completion, including Warp's 
promising survival horror D2(see 
page 148). Sadly, Matsushita felt that 
the limited amount of software that 
was ready would be detrimental to 
the success of the machine and 
decided to postpone the launch until 
the following year. 

By July of 1996, however, it was 
clear that an add-on for the 3DO 
simply wasn't going to sell. But rather 
than cancelling the project, 
Matsushita continued preparing the 
machine for release as a standalone 
console. Amazingly, even at this late 



Game for a laugh 

Despite the lengthy development period of the M2, hardly 
any games were ever unveiled, probably because most 
third-party developers were wary after poor sales of the 3DO. 
Even so, a few promising titles were revealed, including Warp's 
D2 (which looked completely different from the Dreamcast 
version on page 148), 3DO's own IMSA Racing, and the British- 
developed RPG Power Crystal. Sadly, the companies that did 
support the M2 never saw a return on their time or money. 




A What were they thinking? Making games for the M2? Ha! 



\ 



stage, the hardware specifications still 
weren't complete, purely because the 
designers were trying to keep the 
technology as current as possible. 
This situation continued into 1997, by 
which time an M2-compatible arcade 
board had been announced, along 
with a handful of new games. 

It seemed as though things were 
finally falling into place, but by June 
rumours that the machine had been 
cancelled were starting to circulate. In 
July, Matsushita announced that the 



M2 technology would never be 
released as a games console. Even so, 
work on the chipset continued and 
talk was widespread that the machine 
would be used for education, karaoke 
or even for training purposes in the 
armed forces. 

The last we heard was that M2 
technology was being used in kitchen 
appliances such as microwaves and 
dishwashers, though quite how a 
million textured polygons could help 
to heat a bowl of soup is beyond us. 




All this console goodness is now powering the insides of your dishwasher. No, really. 



143 





IMU 



Those Graftgold sorts were dream developers, 
responsible for a raft of great original titles and some 
of the finest conversions ever seen 




Graftgold Games 



If you're not familiar with one of Graftgold's 
original titles, you'll have almost certainly played 
one of its conversions. The talented software 
house created original games such as Uridium, 
Paradroid and Fire And Ice, as well as superb ports 
of games such as Flying Shark and Rainbow Islands. 

Graftgold started off as ST Software, named after 
programmer Steve Turner. Turner had struck a deal 
with Andrew Hewson of Hewson Consultants and 
began creating games such as 3D Space Wars and 
3D Lunar Attack. Finding programming lonely work, 
Turner quickly turned to his friend Andrew Braybrook 
to help him out. 

As royalties began to rise, Graftgold was created 
and quickly found success with Paradroid, Uridium 
and Avalon, while still keeping firm ties with Hewson. 
Eventually, Graftgold teamed up with British 
Telecomsoft and created a conversion of the excellent 
Flying Shark (a vertical scrolling shoot-'em-up). 
Unfortunately, legal troubles arose with Hewson over 
the rights to a couple of games that Graftgold had 
created, and though Hewson settled out of court it 
was the first of several run-ins for the firm. Although 
Rainbow Islands had been created when Graftgold 
was still at British Telecomsoft, disputes with Taito 
(the original arcade title's creator) meant that the 
game was released under the Ocean banner. 

As conversion work dried up, Graftgold found it 
harder to stay afloat. Unable to create new products 
due to the expensive costs of PlayStation 
development kits, Graftgold closed its doors in 1996, 
15 years after Steve Turner started creating games. 
We caught up with Steve to find out exactly what it 
was that made Graftgold great... 




▲ Rainbow Islandswas heralded as one of the all-time best Bub and Bob titles. 




■■KZ 




Paradroid 




A Despite an Amiga update, Paradroid never made it to later systems. A shame 
really, as the mix of shooting and puzzling worked very well. 



Paradroid is classic 8-bit 
release that combines shoot- 
'em-up and strategy elements to 
create a wonderfully unique title. 
Controlling a prototype droid 
known as the Influence Device, 
you must clear a set of gradually 
more taxing decks of their droid 
hosts before they run amok. 

Droids could be destroyed by 
shooting or ramming them, or 
via a cerebral sub-game involving 



H 



" 



circuitry. Your droid also had a 
limited sense of its surroundings, 
and was not able to see through 
walls or around corners. With 
many of the decks being several 
screens high this gave a pseudo- 
3D outlook to a 2D game. 

Paradroid received an Amiga 
update in 1990 (Paradroid 90I 
that had more of the intense 
gameplay that had served the 
C64 so well. 



lit. ill 





1 "\ r ™\ r ™\ r 



Rainbow 
Islands 



Arguably one of the greatest conversions 
ever completed (across all formats too, 
we might add), Rainbow Islands was without 
doubt one of Graftgold's greatest 
achievements. After successfully being turned 
back into humans, Bubble Bobble's Bub and 
Bob found themselves in the titular Rainbow 
Islands. Being rather unstable, each island was 
slowly sinking into the rising sea, so you had 
to use your handy ability of creating rainbows 
to make your way to the goal at the top of 
each island, which was several screens tall. 

Like its predecessor, Rainbow Islands was 
extremely addictive and had a great theme 
tune (in this case a jazzed-up version of 
Somewhere Over The Rainbow) that perfectly 
suited the pace of the game. Although players 
took alternate turns, there were plenty of 
hidden bonuses (capturing monsters in 
rainbows and then destroying them would 
release one of seven rainbow gems) to ensure 
that there was plenty of pleasure in beating 
your opponent. 

Like Flying Shark before it, Rainbow Islands 
was a huge licence that would not normally 
have been given to a development company 
of Graftgold's size. The end result, however, 
was utterly superb and a testament to 
Braybrook and the rest of the talented team. 
It's perhaps fitting that the Saturn and 
PlayStation versions of Rainbow Islands were 
the last conversions Graftgold made before it 
finally closed its doors. 





K^H^^^srf 


P^ 0<^} ^^^nl 


1 








PEM^* *L" * 1 YT^™! 




■oui fj._ Jt jn^,\A 




m;4%M^€^^i 






^1 ▲ Bub (or is it Bob?) and Bob (or, er, Bub, obviously) are 
known for their Super Bust-A-Move titles. 


10W 




1UP 



HI SCORE 

leaeae 




An Interview With... 

Graftgold co-founder Steve Turner 



Q: How did you start programming? 

A: I started out at school. The first computer I 
programmed was a desk-sized machine with 
512 bytes of core memory. Programs were 
loaded onto paper tape and had to be 
translated to another tape. Then you had to 
feed in a whole reel of paper tape to run your 
'object' tape. The answer was then typed onto 
a Teletype machine. The programs did things 
like work out the first 10 square numbers. 

Q: How did your partnership with 
Andrew Braybrook come about? 

A: I met Andrew when a mutual friend heard he 
had programmed some games that ran on an 
IBM mainframe. As we had a couple of these at 
the insurance brokers where we worked, we 
tried to get a copy of one of the games running. 
Unfortunately, it came on a box full of punched 
cards and we didn't get far. 

Q: Do you still keep in touch now? 

A: Andrew works with me at a firm that 
programs insurance systems, so it's turned full 
circle for us, as that's where I also originally 
came from. 

Q: What was your ethos for making 
games, and who was your inspiration? 

A: We made games that we personally wanted 
to play. We weren't in it for the money - that 
was a bonus.We hardly had any cheats in our 
early games; we played them start to finish for 
real and enjoyed doing it. We play-tested 
everything ourselves to get the ultimate tuning. 
Our inspirations were other pioneers who were 




▲ Steve Turner (right) and Andrew Braybrook are the brains 
behind Rainbow Islands. We're not worthy, and so on. 

pushing the edge - people like Jeff Minter, 
Archer Maclean and the guys at Ultimate. 

Q: What was your favourite machine 
to work on and why? 

A: I loved the Spectrum because it was very 
accessible. There wasn't much hardware to 
learn and the software techniques were 
everything. Whoever wrote the best 
algorithms basically got the best results. 
Nowadays, you have to rely so much on 
hardware and other peoples' systems that it's 
hard to superdrive a machine. 

Q: How long would it take you to 
port a game to various machines? 

A: We got very good at porting, especially our 
own stuff, which was written to be portable - 
we could do a first draft of our later stuff in two 
days. However, making it fly on another 
machine took much longer. To reach . 

commercial quality our fastest ports were V^ 



I! 



, ^L A games 145 

llaaiil llBBflifl llBaflil IliBfli 




"I ■"" !■ || 



▲The Mega Drive, perhaps more than any other 16-bit system, was inundated with licensed platformers, so it's perhaps not surprising 
that The Ottifants isn't that fondly remembered today. 



o 



about six weeks, with better ones taking 
considerably longer, perhaps a year. 

Q: Rainbow Islands was one of the 
best universal ports ever made. Did 
you realise it was something special 
during development? 

A: We knew we could do better than most of 
the ports we had seen. The average quality 
was poor and being done in a hurry by 
bedroom programmers. I think we could have 
made a bigger splash with a game someone 
had heard of. All the big ports went to 
conversion developers who churned them 
out for big fees. I think we showed them how 
to do it properly. 

Q: How much easier was it to work 
on the 16-bit machines? 

A: The main difference was being able to 
compile and save the game using the actual 
machine. It's so much easier developing when 
you can press a button and know you've 
saved your source to disk, rather than having 
to wait up to five minutes to tape a copy that 
might not even load. By the time the 16-bit 
machines arrived we were compiling on PCs 
and downloading to the 8-bits. That made 
programming easy for a while but it didn't last 
long. With 16-bit, the support software 
available just got better and better. We gave 
up writing our own debuggers and loaders so 
we could spend more time writing the games. 

Q: And how did you find the 
eventual transition to consoles? 

A: Consoles were very similar to the 16-bits, 
especially the Amiga as it had lots of hardware 
to assist you. The SEGA systems used the 
same assemblers, and we could use a SEGA 
version of the same development system. The 
real difference we found was blowing ROMs 



rather than having to simply deliver on disks 
(that was a pain). Dealing with the console 
licensor as well as the publisher also took 
more artistic control away from us. They had 
their own ideas and made sure you adhered 
to them even if you had more experience in 
making the correct game decisions. 

Q: Your later titles didn't do as well 
as Uridium and Rainbow Islands. Do 
you think the magic got lost? 

A: We still had the magic, but things had 
moved on. What the commercial industry 
praised were bigger, more expensive 
products that didn't seem to rate the 
gameplay. Even with 16-bits the emphasis 
was on better graphics rather than better 
gameplay. Movie sequences also stole the 
limelight. Huge publishers and development 
teams were in a better position to deliver 



The 
Ottifants 



The Ottifants marked a big change in 
direction for Graftgold. Safely under 
SEGA's wing, it was asked to create a game 
based on a new German cartoon. 

Although initially assured that The Ottifants 
(a story about a bizarre family of elephant-like 
creatures) would receive massive exposure 
and become the next Simpsons, the series 
performed poorly and never reached half the 
countries it was intended to. As a result, 
Graftgold was left with a licensed game that 
lacked the pulling power to sell (it didn't help 
that The Ottifants itself was far from one of 
Graftgold's best products). 

Taking on the role of baby Bruno, you had 
to negotiate a series of colourful levels and 
collect what looked like elephant-shaped jelly 
babies. Gather enough and you could move 
onto the next level. Despite its impressive 
cartoon visuals, the game suffered in 
numerous departments; Bruno was a complete 
bugger to control and would constantly slide 
around as if he was on ice, many of the jumps 
and obstacles were particularly hard to 
negotiate (leading to numerous frustrating 
deaths), and Bruno himself was a far from 
appealing character (although, admittedly, this 
wasn't Graftgold's fault). 

Ultimately, however, it was SEGA's strict 
schedule that became The Ottifants 1 undoing. 
Producing a Sonic rival in only three months 
was an impossible task and in the end, the 
game suffered greatly. 



▼ Graftgold were assured The Ottifants would be bigg 
than The Simpsons, which was a really cruel trick. . 




i HIP i HII i HIP 



i ii A m A 




p v » V 




Uridium 



There's little doubt that the fast-paced 
Uridium was a game that separated the 
men from the boys when it first launched on the 
C64 in 1985. Forget about multiple weapons or 
sophisticated add-ons; your Manta ship just had 
a simple set of lasers and a steady hand was 
needed to keep your prized ship in one piece. 

Each level took place above a huge 
mothership (known as a Dreadnought) and not 
only did you have to shoot down waves of 
enemy fighters, you'd have to navigate the 
heavily armoured Dreadnoughts as well. If all 
that wasn't enough, you also had to deal with 
numerous homing mines that would quickly 
zone in on you at the first opportunity. 

Although it was eventually converted to the 
Amstrad CPC-464 and Spectrum, it was the C64 
where Uridium really excelled. Smooth scrolling, 
some lovely chunky visuals and an absolutely 




▲ Uridium is one of the shooters we'd love to see updated for today's 
systems. How about it Steve? 

rocking soundtrack combined to create an 
amazing experience that still holds up today. 

A frantic two-player option made for some 
great grudge matches and few could resist the 
chance to go back and beat that latest high 
score. Uridium received a C64 update in 1986 
and a full-blown sequel on the Amiga in 1993. 
The NES's The Last Starfighter was Uridium too 
- just with a film licence and a new main ship. 




these, and after spending millions on them 
would then spend equal amounts on 
advertising to con the world that's what 
they should buy. Funny, I don't hear anyone 
saying: "Do you remember the movie to 
such and such?". It's like the crowd who 
cheer the emperor's new clothes. 

Q: Were the old days better? 

A: The pioneer days of the games industry 
were very special. You could start out with 
hardly any outlay, finish a game in six 
weeks and sell enough to keep you going 
for a year. It didn't last long before the suits 
took over, but those early days had a great 
deal of freedom for a programmer. New 
game genres were invented all the time 
and you weren't expected to fit a 
commercial mould. I think there is room 
for that pioneering to go on away from all 
the big triple-A products controlled by the 
publishing giants. At the moment, there 
isn't an easy machine for people to 
experiment on. You need to use operating 
systems that constantly change rather than 
take over the machine. 

Q: How difficult was it to keep 
Graftgold going? Is there anything 
you would have done differently? 

A: Everything's easier with hindsight. What I 
most regretted was not getting into 
publishing when it was a cottage industry. 
The small publishers who survived sold out 
to larger publishers for a fortune. Owning at 
least a stake in a publisher would have let 



us keep artistic control. There's nothing 
worse than to see a good product get spoilt 
by bad decisions from a publisher. 

Q: What was your favourite 
Graftgold game? 

A: Dragontorc was my personal favourite. 
Of Andrew's, I think Paradroid is a 
masterpiece of design. 

Q: What games do you wish you 
had worked on? 

A: I am great fan of Sid Meyers and would 
have loved to have been a part of Civilization. 
My other wish would to be part of the Doom 
team. They were pioneering at a time when 
most games were following set patterns. 

Q: What are you up to these days? 

A: I've been at the same firm with Andrew 
since Graftgold disappeared. After all the 
turmoil of trying to keep a company going, 
it was a well-earned rest that paid well. I've 
now been there five years - I'm in the 
research and development team. 

Q: Would you ever be tempted to 
come back to the industry? 

A: I do consider it now and then but with 
my kids going through university, my 
priority is a stable job. The games industry 
is a stormy sea at the best of times. I am 
ready to rejoin the industry for the right 
company - 1 no longer want to run a 
company though, just concentrate 
on creating great games. 




Fire 
And Ice 



Cool Coyote may not have been one of the 
best known game characters of all time, 
but at least he managed to appear in a decent 
game before he went to the great retro 
videogame heaven. Debuting on the Amiga, 
Fire And Ice was an incredibly colourful jaunt 
that had Cool traversing a range of typical 
platform locations - colourful forests, deep 
under the sea and even precarious snow- 
covered mountain ranges. 

Despite not being that memorable, Cool 
had a rather nifty way of defeating the various 
enemies that were scattered about the many 
beautifully drawn levels. The coyote could fire 
ice pellets at his many opponents, eventually 
causing them to freeze over. Once this has 
been achieved, walking into the now frozen 
form would shatter it. Certain enemies would 
then drop a frozen fragment of the key that 
was needed to unlock the next level. 
Fortunately the missing pieces were always 
hidden randomly throughout the sprawling 
levels, meaning that it wasn't just a simple 
case of memorising each location. 

Fire And Ice had plenty of secrets scattered 
around its many levels and managed to 
appear on various other systems including 
the Master System, PC, Game Gear and the 
ill-fated Amiga CD-32. Graftgold also 
developed a finished version for the Mega 
Drive, but disputes between Virgin and 
Renegade (the game's publishers) meant it 
was never released 





D2flROMW£5£ 



Some games are in development for years but never come 
out. Others, however, do get released but never make it as 
far as Europe. D2 is one of those games. 



Title: D2 

Developer: Warp 
Format: Dreamcast 
Release date: 1999 



When SEGA unveiled the 
Dreamcast in 1998, one 
of the most prominent 
titles on show was D2 from Warp. 

Following on from the FMV-based D 
(which had been released on the 
PSone and Saturn in 1996), this 
promising-looking title was clearly 
one of the most complete Dreamcast 
launch titles, featuring some 
impressive snowy landscapes. 
Screenshots also showed the return 
of Scully-like heroine, Laura Parton. 

As time went by, more 
screenshots were made available, 
each cementing the fact that D2 
really was going to be something 
special. Although almost every 
image looked nigh-on identical to 



those shown at the unveiling, the 
ability to cross wide stretches of 
land on a snow speeder and the 
option to use a shotgun from a first- 
person point of view had gamers 
salivating in anticipation. 

However, things took a turn for 
the worse when the game was 
shown in playable form. Warp's 
eccentric CEO, Kenji Eno, not only 
oversaw complete development of 
the game, but also composed all the 
music. At a classy event at which 
guests were offered Eno-san's 
home-made curry, the audience was 
treated to a live performance of D2s 
music played on violin and piano, 
before the early Dreamcast console 
was powered up. With Eno-san at 
the controls, Laura momentarily 
hobbled around in the snow looking 
a little like Cilia Black with a broken 
ankle, before dropping through the 
floor and disappearing. 



%$:**+ 




▲ Off she goes, stumbling majestically through 
the snowy wastes... 

Embarrassed by the obviously 
unfinished state of the code, Eno-san 
hurried over to console and flicked 
off the power. 

Of course, this was all prior to the 
release of the Dreamcast hardware, 
yet despite Warp's best efforts, D2 
was nowhere near ready for the 
launch - it eventually arrived in 
Japan on 23 December 1999, over a 
year after the console came out. The 
huge amount of game data required 
four Dreamcast GD-Roms, which 
was particularly surprising 
considering that most of the 
adventure took place in the same 
snowy landscapes that had been 
unveiled all those months earlier. 

D2 launched in America in 2000, 




▲ Oh, bless, bunnies. But all the rabbits in the world 
can't make up for a shoddy game. 



though it wasn't very well-received 
(funnily enough). The lacklustre 
launch had little to do with the 
quality of the game, though -the 
problem was that D2 was already 
looking horribly dated compared to 
many other Dreamcast games. 
Capcom's Resident Evil was giving 
survival horror fans everything they 
needed, while similarly themed 
titles, such as The House Of The 
Dead 2, were clearly better looking. 

Things were worse still in Europe. 
The Dreamcast was struggling to 
stay afloat and, after disappointing 
sales of D2 in the States, the game 
was dropped from European release 
schedules. Apparently, Warp has 
since gone into liquidation and Kenji 
Eno has left the games industry. 



▲ What a terrifying sight Just look at those crude 
graphics and the dated animation. . . 



148 games™ 



Htrttt *i tut 




:wn* iftMl 



irm* ** 



SBSA SATURN" 




Into Dreams ' 



ican advertis 



games™ 149 







_rr en r-i ^_i= r^ m ^ C 







£ s^o c 



,&«! 



ilHIIJi 

~ 8.-3 § if — ^ ' 






: CREATE YOUR OWN] 




[OTHER GAMES] 










> = s I -< s is I grg. = . 



If) 

—1 

LU 

z 

§ 

X 
O 

LU 

£ 

CO 


3H' 



i 



CQ "ea 2 CL- .E *E co 



. 


^J 


1 


o 






o 






CJ3 


H tfl 




CO 


1 , 


3 


-. 


OQ 







gSl^ i 



S 



150 games™ 







J S>^S eg -° ™ £ 



I 



;N-«S 



) EC3 >^ o ~ c 



[LICENCES ] 



CO 

LLI 


p^~ 


-, i 


X 


■ ' IS 


i 


1- 


M 


, 


e 


'■ 




LU 

C3 


:i 


* 


O 






Z 






>- 






CO 






* 




■ 



° 

DC 




< 1 
2 ■ 


Jl 






if lllf s 



° I 

< ■ 

LU ■ 

lUEL 



Arcade/PS2 
jrummania, 
rdmania is 
another play 
leatmania (or 
theme, 
in Japanese 
, neither this 
mmania has 
ne amount of 


CO §^^|^Eg.s^^g 


— ^ E oma. cc c -o|. 


CO 

< 

< 

2 


♦A 


E S. 

If 


Q 


w, S 


CD g" 


5 


V \ 


= cS 


o 






QQ 








J* 


3 2. 










LU 
CO 

o 

s 
I 

s 
I 

s 

w 


■ 


= 1 

o E 

§1 
E-g 

o j 







z L 

E ■ 
o ■ 

° n, 

C3 1 ""^ 


K 



i !§§.§£ 



||i?s || I 





H 
■=£ 

E g 
co 1 

|| 

w-fi 

1.1 
Jl 


eJ- 





SCORE slslfc^ 




GAMES THAT TIME FORGOT. 



I OH MUMMY 



}Q 



Had you been lucky enough 
to own an Amstrad CPC 
464, you'd have received a 
number of free games with which 
to start your collection. Hidden 
amongst the cheap and nasty 
rubbish that consisted of Roland On 
The Ropes, Animal, Vegetable, 
Mineral and Roland In The Caves 
was Gem Software's superb Oh 
Mummy, a fantastic (though 
extremely derivative) Amidar clone. 



As with many 8-bit games, Oh 
Mummy's gameplay was extremely 
simple in concept but incredibly 
addictive to play. Taking on the role 
of an archaeologist, you had to make 
your way into old tombs and empty 
them of treasure. This would be a 
simple task if it weren't for the 
numerous mummies that would 
insist on chasing you around the 
various passageways. 

Each tomb consisted of a screen 



containing 20 blocks; running 
around the blocks would highlight 
them and release any Egyptian 
treasure that was hidden away 
inside. Once all the treasure had 
been successfully collected, you 
could progress onto the next level. 
While slow and simple to begin 
with, each tomb would get 
progressively tougher and faster (as 
well as containing even more 
mummies) as time went on. 

It may have been an incredibly 
easy game to play, but therein lay 
Oh Mummy's appeal; here was a 



YOU'RE BUGGING ME 



ffL^y\- 



There's nothing more 
satisfying than finally 
completing a title and 
getting that magical one hundred 
per cent completion screen. 
Unfortunately, no matter how good 
a game may be, there's always the 
odd little glitch that can spoil it 

Take Gran Turismo 2, for example 
- here was a racing game that 
featured an amazing array of 




features, added rally driving to the 
mix and made Polyphony Digital the 
racing sim kings. Despite these extra 
bells and whistles, Gran Turismo 2 
had one glaring problem - it was 
impossible to get a full hundred per 
cent finishing score. The reason for 
this oversight was because the highly 
anticipated drag racing tracks had 
been taken out at the eleventh hour 
(although a selection of cars still 




k Gran Turismo 2 was a fantastic game but try as you might you just couldn't finish the damn thing. 



made the cut), meaning that the 
game could never be completed. 

DMAs Space Station Silicon Valley 
was another game that suffered from 
not being able to achieve that 
coveted complete score. Each level 
had a gold statue that needed to be 
collected in order to achieve your 
hundred per cent goal. Fat Bear 
Mountain, however, contained a bug 
that caused your character to glitch 
through the statue instead of 
collecting it. When questioned about 
this bizarre occurrence, DMA 
typically laughed it off and stated that 
it had been included as a joke 
(though no-one else saw the funny 
side). Both of these pale in 
comparison to the blunder that was 
Elite's Airwolf- the penultimate level 
contained a series of rocks that 
needed to be safely negotiated to 



▲ It may not look like much, but this was 
compelling gameplay at its finest 

game that could even persuade 
mums and dads to put aside 
whatever they were doing and try to 
beat that elusive high score. The fact 
that this classic was actually given 
away for free with the machine was 
also an added bonus. Forget Lara 
Croft, this was the original Tomb 
Raider. 



Presentation 


80% 


Graphics 


85% 


Payability 


95% 


Longevity 


90% 


OVERALL 


90% 




t^Stflaa- 




▲ Did you finish this? No, we still can't either. 

achieve completion. Unfortunately, 
they were practically impossible to 
clear and the few times anyone did 
manage it, the game immediately 
crashed. The rumour behind this 
fiasco was that the development 
team were so pushed for time that 
they never actually completed the 
game and as a result the rock level 
was made impossible to bypass. 
Whether this is true or not is hard to 
say, but we've still never managed to 
complete the bloody thing. 



152 games 




R'O'L'L'I-N'G T'H'U'N'D'E-R 



Format(s): Arcade (first). 
Commodore 64, Mega Drive, 
Lynx, NES 

Publisher: Atari (arcade), US 
Gold (home systems) 
Developer: Namco 
Release date: 1986 (Arcade) 



I III I ell, there's a surprise - Leila 
f has been kidnapped by crime 
organisation Geldra, so ifs up 
to the tragically named Albatross of 
the Rolling Thunder secret agency 
to rescue his fellow agent. A tired 
plot maybe, but it was the premise 
behind a Namco shooter that first 
appeared in arcades in 1986. That 
shooter was Rolling Thunder, and 
although its two sequels improved 
the gameplay, they never reached 
the level of infamy that the original 



I 



title did, thanks to its harsh 
difficulty level. 

The game followed Albatross as 
he took on Geldra's henchmen in 
narrow levels that ranged from 
warehouses to the great outdoors 
and allowed little room for error. The 
restricted bullet supply and 
Albatross' ability to leap up onto 
balconies lent the game a tactical 
nuance that similar shooters such as 
Contra lacked. The garishly dressed 
secret agent would have to use his 
surroundings in order to survive, 
ducking behind crates to dodge 
bullets or moving up or down levels 
when the action got too intense. 

It's fortunate that Albatross had 
these abilities though, as it took 
much more than quick reactions 
and a bucketful of change to 
complete this side-scrolling shooter. 
Each level stacked the odds against 
you thanks to guards (known as 
Maskers) that would relentlessly 
charge from all directions. Some 
would burst out of the doors 
littered throughout the levels and 
attack with guns and grenades, 
while others leapt off balconies and 
tried to fight close-up. Albatross 



1 

T 



T 



mm M- 



I 11J: IhlllNM^.N 



A Pick up that machine gun and suddenly you were king of the world. Although your outfit was still crap. 



wasn't the strongest of heroes 
either and would keel over after 
taking just one shot. Throw in a 



was extremely satisfying and, while 
the game remained rock hard, for a 
brief moment the machine gun 



time limit and some clunky jumping made you believe that you could 



and ifs easy to see why gamers in 
arcades were turning the air blue. 

Yet just as it seemed the difficulty 
curve was insurmountable, you'd 
discover the doors. Entering a door 
would reward you with more time 
or a respite from the frantic gunplay, 
while doors marked 'BULLETS' 
would top up the ammo for your 
pistol. Best of all were the doors 
marked 'ARMS' that would reward 
you with a machine gun -the 
perfect way to even up the odds. 
Mowing down swathes of guards 



JLlSfrfO 



complete the game. Sadly, it would 
soon run out of bullets, leaving you 
back with the default pistol and 
cowering behind crates once more. 
It's this brief moment of elation 
and invulnerability that the 
machine gun offered that will 
remain the stand-out moment from 
Namco's classic shooter. Any 
gaming moment that makes you 
feel like you genuinely can take on 
the world is worthy of note and, in 
that respect, Rolling Thunder made 
you feel like a true hero. 





M 



you and your little red shoes to get her bad 






H ^H 



On." 
Nil 














9 






ffi 


1 




HUNTER 

twmc* ychjrseuf ws * bit ©f * 
goujegtqr, eh? well them 
You're Gotjmg to meed to kjmow 

WHKT^S HOT WMD >«Krt MOT 



* 



Sor a hard-core gamer 
who's spent years 
building up their 
videogame collection, it 
can be fairly easy to 
predict which titles will be worth big bucks 
in the future. Any half-decent games that 
get released in limited quantities will 
usually be worth something at some point, 
though buying and selling at the right time 
is often they key to making a decent profit. 
Just look at Castlevania: Symphony Of 
The Night, for example. There was a time 
when it could be picked up for under 20 
quid, though you'd be hard-pushed to find 
it for less than £60 these days. Of course, 



knowing that Konami's PSone classic is 
worth so much isn't really of any benefit to 
collectors who are looking to buy right 
now. It's the titles that are currently 
inexpensive but which have the potential to 
go up in value that budding treasure 
hunters need to know about. 

Collectable videogames have a tendency 
to fluctuate in value, in much the same way 
that antiques do - the difference is that 
there are a greater number of variables that 
affect the price of games, including follow- 
up titles and enhanced re-releases. There 
are also a number of other issues that need 
to be taken into account, such as fashion 
and origin -two seemingly identical items 




TITLE: Gunstar Heroes 
FORMAT: Mega Drive 
DEVELOPER: Treasure 
RELEASED: 1993 
VERSION: Japan 
ESTIMATED CURRENT 
VALUE: £80 



Gunstar Heroes was the first title to be created by small 
Japanese developer Treasure back in 1993, and was 
immediately popular with gamers thanks to its innovative graphical 
effects and hugely enjoyable two-player mode. As with so many of 
the company's games, this technically accomplished Mega Drive 
game was only ever released in limited quantities around the world, 
though its niche appeal in the West has meant that second-hand 
copies are still relatively easy to get hold of. Until recently in Japan, 
however, selling used games was actually an offence, meaning that 
many older titles have become increasingly rare. 





-^ 


BNl 


™ J M H !li*-»~fl"^n I 


itir 


[ i 


«iLL 


i i 


. 











can vary hugely in price depending on 
which region of the world they were 
created for. AUK copy of Treasure's 
Gunstar Heroes may still be worth £10 or 
so, but the Japanese version is currently 
worth up to eight times that much. 

In this month's Treasure Hunter we'll not 
only be looking at rare Japanese titles, but 
also at some UK releases that look set to 
become collectors' items in the future. 



J*^)^ 



DEVELOPER: SNK 
RELEASED: 2000 
VERSION: Any 
ESTIMATED 
CURRENT VALUE: 



Based on the Fatal Fury 
series, Garou: Mark Of 
The Wolves features some 
of the slickest animation 
ever seen in a 2D beat-'em- 
up, which has helped it to 

nain a firm favourite 
with SNK fans. Due to the 
lateness of its release only 
a limited number of Neo- 



retaining a high price. Until 
recently, it was difficult to 
find a copy of Mark Of The 
Wolves for under £400 
though the value ha 
declined slightly sint 
2002 budget re-releaL. _ 
the Dreamcast version in 
Japan. Interestingly, the 
Dreamcast game is 
currently selling for 
little as £25, but will 
almost certainly be i 
more in the future. I 
perhaps snap up on 



[ 



/ 



154 games" 1 



TITLE: Rez 

FORMAT: Dreamcast 

DEVELOPER: SEGA UGA 

RELEASED: 2002 

VERSION: UK 

ESTIMATED CURRENT VALUE: £45 

Rez was one of the last Dreamcast 
games to be released in the UK and, 
as such, was almost impossible to get 
hold of, even at the time of its launch. The 
few copies that were around, however, 
were selling at inflated prices from day 
one, though ifs since become possible to 
find used copies in second-hand shops for 
as little as £20. This superb little game is 
ideal for anyone wishing to start 
collecting, as recent copies listed on eBay 
have gone for as much as £70, and it 
seems unlikely that the situation will 
change. The PS2 version, on the other 
hand, isn't nearly as collectable and can 
currently be found for just £10. 



TITLE: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike 

FORMAT: Dreamcast 

DEVELOPER: Capcom 

RELEASED:2000 

VERSION: UK 

ESTIMATED CURRENT VALUE:£30 

With so many Street Fighter games 
released across so many formats it 
seems unlikely that any could become 
particularly collectable, and for the time being 
that certainly seems to be the case. Even so, the 
Dreamcast was the only console to ever receive 
a translation of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, and, 
somewhat amazingly, it was actually released 
in the UK. It's certainly not the most common of 
Dreamcast games, but it's not all that hard to 
find used copies for under £30 either. Right now, 
it probably isn't worth a lot more than that, but 
there's a good chance its value will at least 
double over the next few years. 



.i£Ji 



I 






'•v. 



ftftfl 



C'L'A'S'S'hC C'O'N'S'O'Lr 

B'U'Y'E'R'S G'U'hD'E Q'U'h&K R*E'F*E'R*E'N*C*E # 




It might be easy to play retro games 
through emulation, but there's nothing 
quite like owning the original system - 
that musty smell of ancient electronics 
can never really be replicated with a PC. 
Of course, there's always a price to pay 
and unscrupulous dealers are out to 
make a quick buck, but you really don't 
have to pay through the nose if you look 
in the right places. Charity shops, car 
boot sales and eBay are all good places 
to start, but before you do, use our guide 
to see how much you should be paying... 




Panasonic 3D0 
Goldstar 3D0 



ACORN COMPUTERS 



BBC Micro 
Acorn Electron 



£50-60 



£40 



Iamstrad 



Amstrad CPC 464 £20 


Amstrad CPC 664 


£20-25 


Amstrad CPC 6128 £25 


Amstrad GX4000 


£50 




I 



Atari VCS 2600 £30 (wooden models tend to cost more) 

Atari ST £40 (with software) 

Atari Lynx £35 (the original model costs less) 

Atari Jaguar £25 



Commodore Vic 20 

Commodore 64 £25-35 (varies according to model) 

Commodore Amiga £35-40 (varies according to model) 

Commodore CDTV £50-60 

C64GS £50 (becoming more sought-after) 

Commodore CD32 £35 



JMISC 



GCE Vectrex (General Consumer Electronics) £200-250 
MB Vectrex (Milton Bradley) £175-200 

JAMMA compatible cabinets £100-350 

(depending on model) 
Supergun £150-200 (varies according to model) 



NEC 



PC Engine £70-80 


Turbo Grafx-16 


£50-60 


Turbo Duo 


£100-150 


PC Engine GT 


£150-200 


Super Grafx 


£200-250 



j_ 








Game & Watch 


£15-50 (depending 


on title) 


Nintendo Entertainment System 


£15-20 


Game Boy/Game B< 




£10 


Game Boy Color 




£15 


Super Nintendo 




£20-25 


Virtual Boy 




£75-100 


Nintendo 64 




£20-25 



•cjh^^H ^v 




Master System 


£20 


Mega Drive 


£20-25 


Game Gear 


£35-40 


Mega CD 


£40-60 


SEGA32X 


£30 


SEGA Nomad 


£75-100 


SEGA Saturn 


£30 


Dreamcast 


£25-30 



'SINCLAIR 




Sinclair ZX-81 


£40 


ZX Spectrum 48K 


£40-50 


ZX Spectrum + £30 


ZX Spectrum 128K 


£40 


ZX Spectrum +2 £35 


ZX Spectrum +3 


£40 



Neo Geo MVS Single Slot (Arcade syst 
(prices for multi-slots 


are higher) 


Neo Geo AES (home system) 




£175-225 


Neo Geo CD 




£125-175 


Neo Geo CDZ 




£150-175 


Neo Geo Pocket Color 




£40-50 



CONSOLE OF THE MONTH 




I NAME: 3DO Interactive Multiplayer 

I PRICE: £60 

I THREE OF THE BEST: 

Super Street Fighter II: Turbo 

(est. price £10) 

Samurai Shodown (est. price £10) 

Crash And Burn (est. price £8) 
I Despite being a fairly pricey £60, the 
3DO is a worthy console with one or 
two classic games available. 



HOWTOUSEGTM 

SELLING 

To sell items on GTM, simply list the 
following details in an email to: 
gtm@paragon.co.uk 

■ Your name 

■ Your age (you must be over 18) 

■ Your home address and telephone 
number (don't worry - this is 
strictly confidential and will not be 
given out) 

■ Your email address 

■ The item(s) you wish to sell (no 
more than five per month please) 

■ The condition of the item(s) you 
wish to sell 

■ How much you want for the 
item(s) 

Each item will then be allocated a 
lot number and listed on GTM, 
along with your region in the UK. 



BUYING 

To buy an item from GTM, all you 
have to do is list the following 
details in an email to: 
gtm@paragon.co.uk 

■ Your name 

■ Your age (you must be over 18) 

■ Your home address and 
telephone number (don't worry - 
this is strictly confidential and 
will not be given out) 

■ Your email address 

■ The reference number for the 
item you're interested in 

WANTED 

If you're simply trying to get hold of 
a long-desired item, contact us in 
the same way as above stating 
what you want and any preferences 
on its condition or price. 



After contacting us, your email 
address will be passed onto the 
relevant seller or buyer, who will 
contact you directly to complete the 
deal, arrange payment and make 
plans for postage, collection or 
delivery. Please note that this runs 
on a first come, first served basis 

GTM RULES AND 
SMALL PRINT 

This is a service for private sellers, 
not dealers. GTM is for sales of 
retro games only - no post- 
Dreamcast consoles or games 
allowed. There's little point in 
advertising Mega Drive FIFA games 
as everybody already has at least 
two copies. Paragon Publishing Ltd 
cannot take any responsibility for 
items lost or broken in the post 



156 games™ 



s BUY & SELL your retro games with games 



G.T.M 

GAMES TRADING MARKET 

Searching for an elusive copy of Radiant Silvergun? 
Want to sell that pile of Spectrum games taking up space 
around the house? Then check out GTM, the most 
authentic retro sales column in the world! 



FOR SALE 

LOT 24 - Atari 2600 (wood 
effect) plus two paddles in carry 
case. Includes 39 games in plastic 
bookcases, Trackball, two 
additional paddles, Quickshot 
joystick, two classic joysticks, 
video touch pad and two 
keyboard controllers plus game 
manuals. Console needs 
attention. £80. Birmingham 

LOT 25 - Neo-Geo Pocket Color 

and six games including Neo 
Turfmasters, Neo World Cup and 
Fatal Fury. All boxed as new. £80 
including p+p. Merseyside 

LOT 26 - Doom for PSone. 

Boxed but no instructions, 
good condition. £2.50 plus p+p. 
North Yorks 

Lot 27 - Hardcore 4X4 for 

PSone. Boxed and instructions, 
good condition. £2.50 plus p+p. 
North Yorks 

Lot 28 - Jungle Strike for 

SEGA Mega Drive. Boxed and 
instructions, good condition. £3 
plus p+p. North Yorks 

Lot 29 - Moonwalker for SEGA 
Mega Drive. Boxed and 
instructions, good condition. £3 
plus p+p. North Yorks 

Lot 30 - Rock 'N Roll Racing for 

SEGA Mega Drive. Boxed and 
instructions, good condition. £3 
plus p+p. North Yorks 

Lot 31 - Neo-Geo Pocket Color 

and six games including Metal 
Slug and Sonic. Boxed as new. 
£80. Warwickshire 




Lot 32 - Arcade multiformat 
games mag. All 12 issues. £20. 
Warwickshire 

Lot 33 - Get Bass for SEGA 
Dreamcast, Japanese version. 
Boxed with fishing rod in mint 
condition. £40 

Lot 34 - House Of The Dead 2 

for SEGA Dreamcast, Japanese 
version. Boxed with gun in mint 
condition. £35 

Lot 35 - Seaman for SEGA 
Dreamcast, USA version. Boxed 
with microphone in mint 
condition. £30 

Lot 36 - The King Of Fighters 
'99 Dream Match, Japanese 
version. Boxed in mint 
condition. £20 

Lot 37 - Capcom Vs. SNK for 
SEGA Dreamcast, Japanese 
version. Boxed in mint 
condition. £20 

Lot 38 - Garou: Mark Of The 
Wolves for Neo-Geo AES, 
Japanese version. Boxed in very 
good condition. £260. Sussex 

Lot 39 - Terranigma for SNES, 
PAL version. Boxed in very 
good condition. £80. Sussex 





WANTED 07 - King Of Fighters 

'98 (English) for Neo-Geo AES. 
Must be in good working order 
with box and manual. Exeter 

WANTED 08 - King Of Fighters 
2000 (English) for Neo-Geo AES. 
Must be in good working order 
and complete with box and 
manual. Exeter 

WANTED 09 - Last Resort for 

Neo-Geo AES. Must be in good 
working order and with box and 
manual. Exeter 

WANTED 10 - Miracle Piano 

teaching cartridge for NES (UK 
version). Must be in good 
working order. Suffolk 

WANTED 1 1 - Dragon(s) Crystal 

for SEGA Game Gear. Preferably 
with box and instructions. 
Manchester 

WANTED 12 - Azure Dreams for 

Sony PSone. Must have box and 
instructions. Manchester 



WANTED 13 - Vandal Hearts ior 

Sony Playstation. Must have box 
and instructions. Manchester 

WANTED 14 - Panzer Dragoon 
Saga for SEGA Saturn. Must have 
box and instructions. Manchester 

WANTED 15 - Panzer Dragoon 

Mini ior SEGA Game Gear. 
Preferably with box and 
instructions. Poole 

WANTED 16 - Bomberman 

compatible Multi-tap for Mega 
Drive. Bournemouth 

WANTED 17 - C64 games. 

Anything considered. Liverpool 

WANTED 18 - Chrono Trigger 

for Super Nintendo. Preferably 
with box and instructions. Will 
pay up to £70. Londonderry, Nl 

WANTED 19-WonderSwan 
dating games. Must be in good 
condition with boxes and 
instructions. Surrey 



GAMES™ RETRO CLASSIFIEDS 

Send to: games™. Retro Classifieds, Paragon Publishing, St Peter's 
Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 2JS or email gtm@paragon.co.uk 

Name 

Address 



..Postcode- 



Email 

Tick classified heading 

□ FOR SALE Q WANTED 

Write your advertisement here, one word per box, and include your name, 
address, phone number and email address below only if you want them printed 




ITS HIGH NOON. 
YOU'RE ALONE 

TODm mm 

YOU'RE 






M 4 j (m4 4m * II ii-kihWii. Ip iluM****, ™>* 
^itfiliiiH 1 i|Mu I ! J^n^p^ftH' tiill-r Sirii.riPifTThiiiini !■■ 
flflfijirm p^irnftil ntmiiin iMVA^nrnHi bj nn-paw 
UtfflHIU. 'Vij ^U- hI hf*l km jriiih " I.L ftufk 

Mhmttpr 1lrf v%F«nnipiiik!-uJM:i tar F*tft4*ftk 
mil |w tu'J-J uH f^tfiN lint Ikiiipinc <\**t* 
m.k.Urr 

1U* \ tan jta^ ^rfi rtrtf p4l*n M Mm- (ft* 

pilflfl4lHCjtft(Mii With 

iUlktfl^caiJHflwJw^ 

ipgjdJHamj^iu 
minvh And kwlnp 



ICAPCom] 



. •■■■- 



L'-Hfrwli 



L'xtetwrt. I'M. 
VHawiJ. fays UuuhU* 




158 games'" 



ESSENTIALS 

TOO MANY GAMES, NOT ENOUGH MONEY. THANKFULLY, NOT ALL OF THEM 
ARE WORTH SPENDING YOUR HARD-EARNED CASH ON. IF YOU WANT TO TASTE 
THE CREAM OF THE CROP, YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. . . 



PLAYSTATION2 




MANUFACTURER 

Sony 

UK LAUNCH DATE 

24 November 2000 
MEDIA 

4.75-inch DVD Disc 
CURRENT PRICE 

£169.99 



The oldest of the next-generation 
consoles, having had well over a 
year's head start over both the 
GameCube and Xbox. With support 
across the board from third-party 
developers, a built-in DVD player 
and backward compatibility with 
older PSone games, it's the most 
popular videogame console 
available today. 



Publisher 



Developer 



1 Ico 



SCEE 



In-House 



2 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 



Rockstar Games Rockstar North 



3 TimeSplitters 2 



Eidos 



Free Radical 



4 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 



Activision 



Neversoft 



5 Pro Evolution Soccer 2 



Konami 



In-House 



6 Burnout 2: Point Of Impact 



Acclaim 



Criterion 



7 Dark Chronicle 



DH33 Sony 



In-House 



8 Rez 



SEGA 



UGA 



9 Amplitude 



imum Sony 



Harmonix 



10 Devil May Cry 



Capcom 



In-House 



11 Suikoden III 



Konami 



In-House 



12 Metal Slug 3 



MEM Playmore 



In-House 



13 NBA Street 2 



Electronic Arts EA Sports BIG 



14 Colin McRae Rally 3 



Codemasters 



In-House 



15 Project Zero 



Wanadoo 



Tecmo 



16 Ape Escape 2 



Sony 



In-House 



17 Hitman 2: Silent Assassin 



Eidos 



lo Interactive 



18 XGRA 



Acclaim 



In-House 



19 Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution 



SEGA 



AM2 



20 Wakeboarding Unleashed 



Activision 



Shaba Games 



+ + M 


f ^ 


A 




A 


/ f 


=V Sri 




(9 




, 



VIEWPOINT 
XGRA 

Faster than a speeding bullet, 
Acclaim's latest effort is also one 
its better titles to date - oh, how 
surprised we were. Many may 
argue that Wipeout still holds the 
crown but with no new game in 
sight, we reckon XGRA is only a 
fraction of a second behind. 




VIEWPOINT 
R-TYPE FINAL 

Yes, it's the end of an era - 
although the more hard-core 
shoot-'em-up fans won't think that 
Irem's swan song has done the 
series justice. Plus those with any 
sense already have the original on 
emulator (not that we're 
promoting illegal activity. Really). 



jf niiHH-i- pi 


i ■ ■—- ■ w 



VIEWPOINT 

DARK CHRONICLE 

Okay, Sony - what's going on 
here? There we were, all ready to 
enjoy the loveliness of Dark 
Cloud 2 (as it'll be known over 
here) in June and then... nothing. 
With no UK release date in sight, 
it's a shame you're all missing out 
on what is a truly epic RPG. 






VIEWPOINT 
ICO 

Quite frankly, we're both shocked 
and appalled - during the course 
of the evening at the games™ 
Awards party we discovered at 
least two individuals who hadn't 
even heard of Ico. Disgraceful. 
Still, we're sure you're not like 
these ill-informed fools... are vow 






&£i 











160 games™ 



GAMECUBE 




UK LAUNCH DATE 

3 May 2002 
MEDIA 

3-inch Optical Disc 
CURRENT PRICE 

£129.99 



Though the GameCube seems 
destined to struggle, Nintendo's box 
of delights is still worth a look. 
Admittedly, third-party support is 
rapidly dwindling, but you only have 
to look at the first-party releases to 
appreciate the quality gaming on 
offer- Nintendo still makes some of 
the finest games you'll ever play and 
missing out on them isn't an option. 



Publisher Developer 



1 Metroid Prime 



Nintendo 



In-House 



2 The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker Nintendo 



In-House 



3 F-Zero GX 



\mnji Nintendo Amusement Vision 



4 Winning Eleven 6: Final Evolution maim Konami In-House 



5 Super Monkey Ball 2 



SEGA 



Amusement Vision 



6 TimeSplitters 2 



Eidos 



Free Radical 



7 Burnout 2: Point Of Impact 



Acclaim 



In-House 



8 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 



Activision 



Neversoft 



9 Ikaruga 



Treasure 



In-House 



Nintendo 



In-House 



11 Eternal Darkness 



Nintendo Silicon Knights 



12 Soul Calibur I 



Namco 



In-House 



13 Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour 



U33 Nintendo 



Camelot 



14 Resident Evil 



Capcom 



In-House 



15 Resident Evil Zero 



Capcom 



In-House 



16 Mario Party 4 



Nintendo 



Hudson 



17 Viewtiful Joe 



DH33 Capcom 



In-House 



18 Skies Of Arcadia Legends 



SEGA 



Overworks 



19 Star Wars: Rogue Leader 



Activision 



Factor 5 



20 Animal Crossing 



USES Nintendo 



In-House 




VIEWPOINT 
SOUL CALIBUR II 

Oh, you lucky, lucky people you. 
Waiting might be painful, but at 
least the (eventual) arrival of a 
spendid game such as Soul 
Calibur II is worth the anguish. Of 
course, we've been practising for 
much longer than you - so don't 
go challenging us at it, all right? 







VIEWPOINT 
VIEWTIFUL JOE 

Having seen a number of 
Capcom's titles come a cropper in 
terms of capturing our 
imaginations (specifically on PS2), 
we're pleased to see at least one 
of its 'big' titles make us smile. 
That said, we're still having trouble 
with that bloody shark monster... 



■ -___ 


** ». 


fl 




■ ^m hi ff 1 


J rt 






^m. 


_„ "V^ 


f+M 






■ 


ImL<: 




F^5 


* 


*J 


W "*j* 




'kJC. p 1 






. 


^* 


>. ««■ 


^*"^~ 


J 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 



VIEWPOINT 
ULTIMATE MUSCLE 

Okay, so we'll admit it - this is a 
wrestling game. But wait- before 
you run screaming for the hills, 
you should know that it looks 
great (eel-shading - is there 
nothing it can't do?) and is damn 
good fun to play. What more 
could you ask for in a game, eh? 






VIEWPOINT 
LEGEND OF ZELDA: 
THE WIND WAKER 

Well, there's a surprise - although 
there was a bit of a battle for the 
second and third spot, this year's 
games™ Game Of The Year won 
by a clear margin. The readers 
have spoken, so take note: you 
really do need this game. 






i 











games™ 161 



ESSENTIALS 

TOO MANY GAMES, NOT ENOUGH MONEY. THANKFULLY, NOT ALL OF THEM 
ARE WORTH SPENDING YOUR HARD-EARNED CASH ON. IF YOU WANT TO TASTE 
THE CREAM OF THE CROP, YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. . . 



XBOX 




MEDIA 

4.75-inch DVD Disc 
CURRENT PRICE 

£129.99 



Despite a slow start, the Xbox is 
swiftly becoming one of the major 
players in today's console market. 
Suggestions that the machine is 
only 'a PC in a box' are founded 
upon the built-in hard drive, 
broadband support and DVD player. 
However, the Xbox is far more 
accessible to the casual gamer than 
most PCs. 




1 Halo 



2 Panzer Dragoon Orta 



3 Jet Set Radio Future 



4 "HmeSplitters 2 



5 Splinter Cell 



6 Knights Of The Old Republic 



7 Project Gotham Racing 



8 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 



9 Project Zero 



10 Burnout 2: Point Of Impact 



11 Dead Or Alive 3 



12 Soul Calibur II 



13 XGRA 



14 MotoGP 



1 5 Hitman 2: Silent Assassin 



16 Aggressive Inline 



17 Freedom Fighters 



18 Colin McRae Rally 3 



19 Wakeboarding Unleashed 



20 Tiger Woods 2004 



Publisher Developer 



Microsoft 



Bungie 



SEGA 



Smilebit 



SEGA 



Smilebit 



Eidos 



Free Radical 



Ubi Soft 



In-House 



HEE Activision 



BioWare 



Microsoft Bizarre Creations 



Activision 



Neversoft 



Microsoft 



Tecmo 



Acclaim 



Criterion Studios 



Microsoft 



Tecmo 



Namco 



In-House 



Acclaim 



In-House 



THQ 



Climax 



Eidos 



lo Interactive 



Acclaim 



Z-Axis 



Electronic Arts lo Interactive 



CodeMasters 



In-House 



Activision 



Shaba Games 



Electronic Arts 



In-House 





VIEWPOINT 

MIDTOWN MADNESS 3 

With both Burnout 2 and Midnight 
Club //taking up a lot of our racing 
time, we overlooked the single- 
player game in Midtown 
Madness 3. However, with the 
online mode proving popular on 
Xbox Live, it's worth a mention 
ust the same. But only just. 




ft&UHi |fl^^fr> 











VIEWPOINT 
PROJECT GOTHAM 
RACING 

We loved Project Gotham Racing 
but we're blown away by the 
upcoming sequel - it's hard to go 
back to the original without 
wincing. That's why we suggest 
getting all your playing time in 
on it now, before it's too late. 



--*. 





VIEWPOINT 
TIMESPLITTERS 2 

The game's practically identical on 
all three formats, but this year's 
Best Multiplayer game at the 
games™ Awards stands out most 
on the Xbox thanks to the hard 
drive storage - our collection of 
multiplayer maps is growing 
arger every month... 

















VIEWPOINT 
BRUTE FORCE 

It shot straight to the top of the 
chart in the US and had a massive 
advertising campaign over here - 
but why? We have to admit, Brute 
Force's success has us well and 
truly stumped, if only because we 
thought it was a completely 
uneventful piece of software. 



*9 




, 


,j 



162 games™ 



GBA 



MANUFACTURER 

Nintendo 


WL 


UK LAUNCH DATE 

22 June 2001 

MEDIA 

Flash Cartridge 

CURRENT PRICE 

£69.99 





Ideal for gaming on the move, the 
GBA is a cheap and effective way of 
getting games to those who don't 
have time to sit down and play. The 
leaps in handheld technology mean 
that GBA games are now more 
accomplished and can even be 
compared favourably to their 
console-based cousins. The lovely 
new SP model is available now. 




MANUFACTURER 

N/A 

UK LAUNCH DATE 

N/A 
MEDIA 

4.75-inch CD/DVD Disc 
CURRENT PRICE 

Evariable 



E 



While primarily bought as a work 
platform, the PC has swiftly become 
the haven of the more 'mature' 
gamer. With its natural ability for 
online and LAN play, it's perfectly 
tailored for the FPS, strategy and 
MMORPG genres. However, it can 
cost a fortune to keep a PC up to 
date and running fast enough to 
support flashy graphics. 



IMsAl^lftJi: 


IflSLVJ: 


fefiWiH 


1 :{• Yi 


lililTiltfM^t 


nwji^^^^^H 


No. Title 








Publisher 


Developer | 



1 Advance Wars 2 



DH33 Nintendo 



2 Zelda: A Link To The Past/Four Swords 



Nintendo 



3 Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island 



Nintendo 



4 Golden Sun: The Lost Age 



5 Metroid Fusion 



6 Street Fighter Alpha 3 



7 Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow 



8 Pokemon Ruby /Sapphire 



9 Splinter Cell 



10 Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe 



KB Nintendo 



Nintendo 



Ubi Soft 



Konami 



Nintendo 



Ubi Soft 



Wanadoo 



In-House 



In-House 



In-House 



Camelot 



In-House 



Crawfish 



In-House 



In-House 



In-House 



Crawfish 



1 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 



2 Championship Manager 4 



3 Operation Flashpoint 



4 Rise Of Nations 



5 Freelancer 



6 Half-Life 



7 The Sims 



8 Age Of Mythology 



9 Day Of Defeat 



10 Sam & Max Hit The Road 



Publisher Developer 



Rockstar Games Rockstar North 



Eidos 



Sports Interactive 



Codemasters 



In-House 



Microsoft Big Huge Games 



Microsoft 



Digital Anvil 



Vivendi 



Valve Software 



EA 



Maxis 



Microsoft Ensemble Studios 



Activision Valve Software 



Activision 



LucasArts 



VIEWPOINT 

SONIC PINBALL PARTY 

Lots of Sonic fun, but not enough 
tables -though we liked it just the 
same. If only it was as good as Ubi 
Soft's classic Pinball Challenge 
Deluxe though... 



w . '■ — 



VIEWPOINT 
POKEMON RUBY 
AND SAPPHIRE 

Out now and already covering the 
land in an almost plague-like wash 
of blue and red - that's the power 
of the Pokemon for you. 






.:, 






FLJHl .S 



VIEWPOINT 
REPUBLIC 

It might not have been the killer 
PC title that Eidos was claiming, 
but there's no denying that Elixir 
Studios has come up with 
something special here. 




VIEWPOINT 
THE SIMS 

Millions of PC owners can't be 
wrong - even if EA has milked 
the series dry. With the sequel 
imminent, though, this is your 
last chance to enjoy the original. 




games™ 163 



RACIN 





games™ puts the pedal to the metal and heads for sunny 
Liverpool - home of Bizarre Creations -to go behind th(i 
scenes of one of the finest racing games known to n 



MONTH 



And there we were, thinking that having to fill 180 pages every issue 

was going to get harder. Instead, it's looking more like we'll need all 

the space we can get in the next few months. . . 



MORE... 


MORE... 


MORE... 


PREVIEWS 


REVIEWS 


FEATURES 


Along with all the hottest 


Promises, promises - if the 


Videogame heroes don't 


gossip from the European 


magic release schedule is 


just grow on trees, you 


Computer Trade Show, we'll 


right, we'll have reviews of 


know - it takes time, 


be showing you more of the 


Half-Life 2, XIII, Jak II, Billy 


planning and a whole lot 


games you want to see - 


Hatcher, Boktai and plenty 


of thought, games™ goes 


including some surprises 


of other top titles besides. 


undercover to find out 


that you might not have 


Still, we wouldn't like to 


exactly what makes our 


even known existed. 


hold our breath... 


favourite heroes tick. 



j 


FLJ 


172 games™ 


fp* jra 





fr%J 




T mi 


f 




i 



\ 




180 

PAGES OF 

RUBBER-BURNING 

GOODNESS 



With ECTS behind us and only a few 
months until we can all tap our relatives for 
more cash, it looks like the race is on for 
"hristmas. Fancy a ride in our one-horse open 
sleigh? Then you'll be needing issue 11... 

ON SALE 09 OCT 03 



games™ 173 



CONTACT I YOUR LETTERS 



MfHfHNl 



ILLUMINATING THE WORLD OF 



WHETHER IT'S TO REMIND US OF THE JOYS OF GAMING OR 
BEMOAN THE CURRENT STATE OF THE [INSERT CONSOLE OF 
CHOICE], THIS IS WHERE YOU GET TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS 

Peter Courtney rattled a few cages with last month's claim that the Xbox is 
passionless, so the Microsoft fans are here to show him some, um, tough love. 



MAKING CONTACT 



□ There are many wonderful ways to get in 
touch with games™. The traditional postal 
method is perfectly acceptable using the 
address below: 

games™ 

Paragon Publishing Ltd 
Paragon House 
St Peter's Road 
Bournemouth 
BH1 2JS 

□ However, there are quicker ways to reach us 
thanks to the technological marvel that is the 
Internet. Email us at this address: 
gamestm@paragon.co.uk 

□ Alternatively, why not get yourself on our 
dedicated forum? Here you should be shielded 
from multiple spams and infantile remarks. 
Access to the site has been password protected 
and only those of you who read games™ will be 
able to get onto the site - and if you have bought 
this magazine then you're not the sort to be 
abusive and childish, are you? Follow these quick 
steps to getting on the games™ forum and 
enjoy hassle-free chatting with those of us who 
share a passion for gaming. 

□ Step One: 

Get yourself online. It's fairly simple, so we're 
sure you'll think of something. 

□ Step Two: 

Type the following into the Net browser window: 

www.totalgames.net 

You will arrive at the Totalgames website. From 

here click on the forum icon. News users will 

have to register via the 'new user' icon - it's a 

simple step-by-step process which we're sure 

you can manage. 

□ Step Three: 

Once registered, simply email 
gamestm@paragon.co.uk with the password 
'mortgage' and your username. Then a whole 
world of sophisticated wit and games chat will 
be yours. It says here. 



174 games™ 



□ I'D LIKE TO say that I comprehensively 
disagree with Peter Courtney's analysis of the 
Xbox (Contact, issue 8) stating that it lacks a 
certain element of passion. Well, he couldn't be 
more wrong - my Xbox reeks of so much 
passion that the stench of it fills my room and 
hovers around me in the shops. The passion 
stems from the fiery glow when you turn the 
machine on, to the shiny plastic wrapper that 
dresses the games. It's passion that made the 
Xbox and it's passion that will bring it to the 
top spot. 

I think Peter is afraid - afraid of change. He 
can't accept that the Xbox has taken the games 
industry a step further - you could even call it a 
revolution. Microsoft can't do anything about 
the fact that it's got heavy financial backing, but 
at the end of the day it's not Bill Gates and co. 
that make games like Halo, it's people with 
dreams and imaginations; people who are not 
bound by politics and facts and figures. These 
are people who once dreamt of making the best 
videogames ever, and it just so happens that the 
Xbox is the best machine to let them do so. 
Mark Gardner 

games™: Well, that sorts that one out, eh? 
Though we're now left with the image of you 
wandering round smelling of 'passion'. Nice. 

□ I LOVE GAMES - I've spent hours enjoying 
classics such as Zelda, Banjo Kazooie, Mario 
64/Sunshine and GoldenEye. And when buying 
my Cube I knew I'd get more of the same. The 
swarm of casual gamers out there happily 
bought their shoddy PS2s and powerhouse 
Xboxes - 1 feel sorry for these people who will 
never enjoy the delights of the secrets in 



HffTTtT 

] 



Sunshine, the hidden depth in Animal 
Crossing, and the atmosphere in Prime. They 
will happily play Enter The Matrix and laugh 
when the guards fly across the floor after 
one kick, thinking that they're enjoying a 
good game. (Interestingly, ETM received far 
higher scores in Xbox/PS2 mags than GC 
mags.) And developers wonder why 'Cube 
versions of multiformat games sell so poorly. 
It's not because of the low user base, it's 
because we know what good games are so 
we can see this pile of turd with a shiny gloss 
a mile off. 

The few casual gamers that bought a Cube 
complain that Sunshine is too hard or the 
controls in Prime are too complicated. If they 
bothered to play Sunshine they'd realise how 
good it really is - the satisfaction of completing 
even the most simple secrets is enormous. But 
casual gamers just want quick thrills, blood, 
violence and gore. 

That's the real reason that third-party games 
are becoming a rarity on the 'Cube - not 
because there isn't anyone to buy them, it's just 
that developers aren't willing to upgrade the 
quality from PS2 violence overkill to something 
special. It's not that I don't like gore or violence, 
because I love Hitman 2 and adore Halo- it's 
just needless violence for the casual gamers 
that brings games down. The handle on the 
back of the 'Cube isn't much use but it's 
symbolic. It's telling people to pick up the 'Cube 
because it's a proper games console. 

Who knows, when the world of photo- 
realism and violence envelops itself, maybe 
gamers will come crawling back to Nintendo, 
begging for some originality. And, if Nintendo 
is still in business when this happens, it will 



MS TEXT 

We've got an exclusive 
SMS text service sponsored 
by Orange. 

] Simply text us your 

question or comment on 
07970 
043488 



oran 



The games™ SMS texting 
service is brought to 
you courtesy of Orange. 
For more information on 
Orange's range of 
wirefree™ games log 
onto: 
www.orange.co.uk/multimedia 




According to some, the 
Xbox positively reeks of 
passion. And that would 
smell like what exactly? 



welcome gamers back with open arms, 
because Nintendo is that nice. 
Chris Ashley 



™: There are some generalisations there, 
but we reckon your views echo many Nintendo 
fans' thoughts on the state of the Cube. We 
suggest that you all relax and enjoy the treats 
that Nintendo provides for its believers. 

□ "SPOILING THE SHIP for a ha'porth of tar" is 
not a proverb often used these days. Yet as I sit 
watching the closing credits for 
Tomb Raider: Angel Of 



Blood, violence, gore and 'rudey-bits'. 
The winning formula for great games? 




Darkness, it seems all too appropriate. Of 
course, every reviewer in the land has duly 
documented the rudimentary problems 
besetting Angel Of Darkness, from the Saint 
Vitus' dance afflicting the controls, leaving Lara 
unpredictably 'palsying' her way to oblivion, to 
puzzles so badly signposted that even the 
hardest of hard-core gamers are left reaching 
for the aspirin or, even worse, a walkthrough. 

I could go on. But what I find even more 
galling is that, beneath the litany of bugs, there 
lies a game tantalizingly close to brilliance. Very 
occasionally you see the fruits of Core's back-to- 
basics approach, some levels containing the 
kind of skilfully realised moments (a jaw- 
dropping vista here, a thoughtfully executed 
puzzle there) that made the original game so 
compelling all those years ago. 

Angel Of Darkness also proves compelling, 
but only as a trial of teeth-grinding patience. A 
further month or so of testing would have 
allowed Core to fully balance the gameplay 
and fix such glaring errors, something that 
Eidos obviously valued less than launching the 
game in time to coincide with the latest Tomb 
Raider film. More fool them, I think -for 
without that last ha'porth of tar, the Tomb 
Raider franchise might well be sunk. 
Chris Ward 

"WHEN THE WORLD OF 
PHOTO-REALISM AND 
VIOLENCE ENVELOPS 
ITSELF, MAYBE 
GAMERS WILL COME 
BACK TO NINTENDO" 



[> 



CONTACT I YOUR LETTERS 



MfHfHNl 



ILLUMINATING THE WORLD OF 



TEXT LIFE... 



PETER COURTNEY- 1 FEEL SORRY 4 YOU! 
PANZER DRAGOON, HALO, MOTO GP 2, NO 
PASSION IN XBOX GAMES, EH! WITH 
YOUR NAIVE ATTITUDE, YOU'RE BEING A 
FOOL TO YOURSELF! 

games™: Okay, okay, so the guy doesn't like the 
Xbox. Horses for courses and all that. 

□ I have just discovered a really great NES 
game: "The Lone Ranger." I urge all retro fans 
to get into this superb game, or at least tell me 
if i am delusional! 

': Can anyone help with this one? 



□ I really love your mag, but could you please 
show us a box shot of the game that you 
review, so that we'll know how it looks like 
when we go and buy the game? 

games™: Why? If you have any problems you 
could always just ask the friendly shop 
assistants to point them out for you. 

□ Could you please show release dates for 
budget range games as well, and why isn't 
there a section for the PSone? 
games™: In the future we'll try to include 
budget release dates in our schedules. As for the 
PSone, surely it belongs in the pages of our 
Retro section? 

□ Any chance of your GAME voucher 
coming separate from the mag, so I don't ruin 
the pages? 

games™: We'd love to but it would simply cost 
too much. You could always buy two magazines 
though... 

□ Do you reckon Datel will release a 
PlayStation game player for the PC (hint hint)? 
games™: Not a chance. 

□ Is it just me or is going back to playing a 
game like halo incredibly difficult to adjust to 
after playing with the inverted x axis camera 
of Zelda on the cube? 

games™: Difficult? No. Painful? Yes. 

□ According 2 pages 37 of issue 8, KAR is not 
coming out on GC, but on the xbx and ps2! 
Looks like someone needs to be shot. 
games™: Yes, yes, all right, Kirby's Air Ride 
definitely isn't on PS2 or Xbox. But your eagle- 
eyes have won you a prize. Turn to page 186 to 
find out what it is. 

□ Any chance of the classic NBA Jam TE 
cuming out on the GBA? 

games™: There are no plans at present. And 
you, er, might want to check your spelling of 
'coming' for future reference. . . 



176 games™ 




[\> games™: Much delayed and responsible for Core 
losing the licence to develop subsequent Tomb 
Raider titles, it's doubtful that we'll ever know 
what happened with Angel Of Darkness. The 
one thing that we can reasonably be certain of 
is that the next Tomb Raider game will be 
better. It has to be. 

□ I AM WRITING to congratulate you on your 
feature regarding the demise of 2D gaming in 
issue 8 of games™. As a seasoned games 
player who has experienced pretty much every 
generation of gaming, I am saddened to see 
that the games industry seems to have no 
respect for its past. Only in the games industry 
are we so blinded by technological advances 
that we forget what we created the technology 
for in the first place - playing games and 
having fun. In its ceaseless pursuit of 3D 
perfection, photo-realistic imagery and the 
creation of worlds where "wood looks and acts 
just like real wood" it seems to have 
abandoned a whole gaming genre. 

Two-dimensional gaming should have 
evolved just like 3D gaming. With today's 
hardware, 2D games could have (and should 
have) been amazing. Emphasis could have 
been placed upon fantastic animation of sprites 
and backdrops, shoot-'em-ups with almost 
unlimited enemies on screen at once with huge 
end-of-level bosses and mind-blowing 
weapons. Platformers would still be games of 
skill and timing instead of the almost laughable 
entity they have become. I'm sick of playing 
games where I have to learn how to rotate the 
camera (because no-one has yet devised a way 
of it sorting it out), or go through a training 
level because there are so many damn buttons 



and controls to remember. I want to pick up and 
play. Press X to fire and Y to jump, and if you 
die it's because you're crap. 

Skill is timing that pixel-perfect jump or 
remembering the shoot-'em-up attack pattern. 
Just have a quick blast of Ikaruga and you'll see 
where I'm coming from. Three-dimensional 
gaming has its place, of course, but in the 
absence of 2D there is a huge void left in the 
market. Our 2D gaming heritage is something 
to be proud of and deserves to be properly 
represented alongside its 3D counterparts. Until 
this balance is redressed I'm afraid that for me 
there will always be something lacking in 
modern gaming. 

One day we're going to switch on our 
PlayStation3 or Xbox 2, and we will see totally 
perfect photo-realistic 3D imagery, we'll be 
enveloped in wonderfully accurate 5.1 surround 
sound and the world on screen will seem just 
as real as the one we live in. And on that day, a 
lot of people are going to switch their console 
back off and just go outside. . . 
Steve Erickson 

games™: The demise of 2D gaming is a sad loss 
to the games industry. But, of course, it's about 
delivering gaming experiences that the masses 
want, and though Ikaruga offers a lovely slice of 
retro gameplay, most prefer a raft of sequels 
and more modern-styled games. At least you're 
old enough to remember 2D gaming in its 
heyday, and whilst we wait for a true revival 
there's always the GBA or the emulation scene 
to keep us warm. 

□ BEN THOMAS WROTE an interesting and 
intelligent letter on the subject of games being 



^HSfc ■ 



FROM THE FORUM 

Fizzy drinks, bananas, car parts - should games be sponsored? 



Games like R-Type 

/Vna/ keep the 2D 

fires burning. Ah, the 

fond memories. 






'OUR 2D GAMING HERITAGE IS SOMETHING TO 
BE PROUD OF AND DESERVES TO BE PROPERLY 
REPRESENTED WITH ITS 3D COUNTERPARTS" 



'dumbed down' (Contact, issue 8) and said that 
developers ought to be making games that 
could change society- 1 agree that, on the whole, 
videogames don't require much thought 
{Resident Evil, anyone?), and there have been 
books and films that have changed the way 
people think. However, go to your local cinema 
and what do you see? Matrix Reloaded, 
Terminator 3, Bruce Almighty, The Hulk and so 
on. So what can we learn from this? 

All of these have strong messages wrapped 
up in action/comedy films, but would your 
average Joe come out of Terminator 3 and 
think: "Man, we have to keep our technology 
under control before things get out of hand!" or 
come out of The Matrix and question his place 
in the universe? No, don't be silly. 

At the end of the day, people read books, 
watch films and play videogames to be 
entertained and they couldn't give a fig about 
some message, but, most importantly, games 
publishers go to where the money is and are 
more likely to release another movie/sport/ 
character tie-in than plunder the depths of 
intellect and attempt to release a game which 
the majority won't buy. Let's remember the 
days of bedroom coders are all but dead, and 
the few that are still around aren't going to 
develop games that will be available to a 
mainstream audience. The result? More Sims 
expansion packs and less Deus Ex. 

Don't get me wrong, I agree that games 
could do more, but my argument is based 



upon the real world. In reality these things are 
either not going to happen or they already have 
happened and you haven't realised it. For 
example, GoldenEye made me realise that 
FPSs with no thinking required bored me to 
tears and that I'd rather play a game that forced 
you to think about what you were doing and 
the consequences of your actions. 

Videogames have changed the way I view 
things. The difference is that the majority of 
society sees videogames as a cheap, dirty and 
illicit activity along with video nasties (i.e. a 
hobby for children and bums). Me? I'm happy 
to play my games and gain whatever I wish 
from them. 
Andy Henderson 



™: Sure, mainstream games, films and 
even music tend to cater to more, shall we say, 
'simple' tastes in just the same way Saturday 
evening TV programmes do, but the laudable 
point that Ben was trying to make was that 
occasionally games could (and perhaps should) 
try to make us think about the world differently. 
Of course, very few actually do, which is a 
shame because the inaccurate labels attached 
to videogames and the people that enjoy them 
are based upon other people's understanding 
that games are violent, trashy and a waste of 
time. Though looking at some titles, you can 
kind of understand why - GTAiVice City 
will never win over the Daily Mail. But 
then do we really want it to? 



□ first_samurai 
09/08/03 06:44 PM 

In these days of product-sponsored TV shows, I find it hard to believe 
that many corporations are ignoring videogames. Being a fan of what 
I consider to be the 'golden age' of gaming (Mega Drive and SNES) I 
cs as Global Gladiators (McDonald's) and Cool 
ojuui \u ic 1 1 ion i ui ici outer being the red dot from the 7-Up logo). 
When vou Dlaved these games vou wanted a Big Mac and to wash it 



\ly 



CONTINUE 
£ll